What is Merchandise & How Does it Boost Revenue?
It’s the souvenir that no fan wants to be without, a tangible, lasting memory of their favourite band or group. And that’s why merchandise – from hoodies to mugs to magnets – is big business for the world’s top artists. Companies cash in because the excitement of seeing a much-loved performer will make people want to buy. From the current Beyonce tour selling hoodies for up to a massive £120 each to Harry Styles raking in a whopping $22m from the merchandise on his last tour, there’s no doubt there’s money to be made. However, there are a number of factors you must consider when deciding to sell merchandise. We’ve answered some of your frequently asked questions to help you understand band merchandise and how it can help boost revenue.
Where and how to sell my band merch
For performers with a global following, there are always many outlets where they can buy their custom merchandise. It’s sold at gigs and online, catering for every fan, including those who can’t actually get to a live performance.
Understandably, you should also try to get a share of this lucrative pie, but be mindful of copyright infringement. It’s easy to get carried away by thinking you can create merchandise at a fraction of the cost of the official items and still make a profit. The hard truth, however, is that if you use recognisable logos, fonts and images belonging to the artist and their management, you could face costly legal action.
It may be worth concentrating on up-and-coming bands or even local festivals and events in the immediate area. Don’t even rule out offering your customised products to local schools or even amateur dramatic groups – it’s a desirable proposition for them, as it also gives them the opportunity to boost their profits. Perhaps you can suggest items like personalised mugs or even custom keyrings which are purse-friendly but useful pieces of merch that can be carried around. There are simply lots of possibilities if you start to think laterally and there are endless great places to sell custom merchandise made in the UK.
How much do bands make on merch?
There’s no set amount bands make on merchandise as it differs for everyone. Taking the examples mentioned above (Beyonce and Harry Styles), the short answer is that it can be a lot! But even if you haven’t got the selling power of Harry Styles or Beyonce, there’s still money to be made. The rule of thumb is a 50% markup on the cost of an item – so if it costs £20 to be made, it should be sold for £40. Even with slightly lesser margins, that’s still an attractive option!
Can I print a band shirt?
This can be a bit of a legal minefield. Designing and selling unofficial band merchandise can be illegal, and while lots of people do it, you will always have to face the possible risk of prosecution.
Originality is always the key to giving yourself some protection, so look at designs which may take an element of the band or a particular reference and not only are you likely to attract more customers, but you’ll give yourself an element of protection. If in doubt, it’s always best to get some professional advice.
How do I start selling merch as a band?
If you are part of a band or helping an up-and-coming group raise their profile, then the world is your oyster. You’re free from copyright restraints, so start thinking of all the items you can sell at your gigs for your – hopefully – growing army of fans.
Custom mugs are always really popular and a constant reminder to the buyer about the band and their music. The same goes for personalised badges, which are incredibly cost-effective to produce. You could create new badges for each of the gigs, for each new piece of music released, and make them something that becomes desired and collectable.
Think, for example, of the Hard Rock restaurant chain. Its custom pin badges are now viewed as highly collectable, with a staggering 84,000 different ones available. They have become so popular that there’s now a whole international market for buying and selling them – definitely something to aspire to!
What is the most popular form of merch?
There’s no doubt that clothing items like T-shirts and hoodies are top-rated when buying merch - mainly as artists release a new variation for every tour they do. But these can also come with a higher price tag, so having a few more price-friendly items makes sense in order to suit all budgets.
Custom badges may only cost a few pounds, but they are treasured, as are personalised mugs, which will likely have the year and dates of the particular performance. The same goes for personalised keyrings – usually one of the lowest-cost items, but that doesn’t make them any less treasured.
What makes good band merch?
There are several reasons why people want to buy merchandise, but good merchandise is the stuff that people will want to keep and use time and time again, as well as anything that looks unique and original. The best merchandise you could choose is the things that are cheaper to buy without comprising on quality – this will draw more customers in!
Good merch is a tangible reminder of a great experience and a way of showing their dedication to their idols. Nowadays, with so much music available for free, it also helps musicians to actually make money.
Where to print band t-shirts
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