Creating and selling merchandise to support your music career

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As a musician, one of the most important aspects of building a sustainable career is generating income beyond just streaming royalties and ticket sales. One effective way to do this is by creating and selling merchandise. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of creating and selling merchandise, share some artist merchandise ideas, as well as some tips for getting started.

Why should you create and sell merchandise?

There are several benefits to creating and selling merchandise as a musician:

  1. Additional revenue stream: Selling merchandise can provide a significant additional source of income for musicians. It can be especially valuable for independent artists who may not have access to the same revenue streams as those signed to major record labels.
  2. Brand building: Merchandise is a powerful way to build your brand and create a connection with your fans. It allows you to showcase your personality, creativity, and style beyond just your music.
  3. Fan engagement: Fans love supporting their favorite artists, and purchasing independent artist merchandise is a way for them to do so. Merchandise can also help you connect with your fans on a more personal level, as they wear and use your products in their daily lives.
  4. Tour promotion: Merchandise is an effective way to promote your tours and shows. Selling merchandise at your concerts can generate buzz and increase awareness of your upcoming shows.

How to get started creating and selling merchandise:

  1. Determine your brand and target audience: Before creating any merchandise, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your brand and who your target audience is. This will help you create merchandise that resonates with your fans and aligns with your image as an artist.
  2. Choose the right products: There are countless options for merchandise, including t-shirts, hats, stickers, posters, and more. Consider which products will best represent your brand and appeal to your fans. It’s also good to select products that are high-quality and well-made.
  3. Design your merchandise: Once you’ve selected your products, it’s time to design your merchandise. This can include everything from choosing colors and fonts to creating graphics and artwork. If you’re not comfortable designing your own merchandise, consider hiring a graphic designer to help.
  4. Find a reliable supplier: When it comes to creating merch for musicians, it’s essential to work with a reliable supplier who can produce high-quality products at a reasonable price. There are many companies that specialize in producing merchandise for musicians, so do your research and decide a company that fits your needs and budget.
  5. Set up an online store: In addition to selling merchandise at your shows, it’s important to have an online store where fans can purchase your products. There are many e-commerce platforms that make it easy to set up an online store, such as Shopify, Big Cartel, and Bandcamp.
  6. Promote your merchandise: Once your merchandise is available for purchase, it’s important to promote it to your fans. Use social media, email marketing, and other channels to let your fans know about your new merchandise and encourage them to make a purchase.

Tips for creating successful merchandise:

  1. Keep it simple: When it comes to merchandise design, less is often more. Choose simple designs and colors that are easy to read and recognize.
  2. Make it unique: Your merchandise should be unique and reflect your brand. Consider incorporating inside jokes, song lyrics, or other elements that are specific to your music and persona.
  3. Consider sustainability: More and more fans are becoming conscious of sustainability and eco-friendliness. Try to use sustainable materials for your merchandise, or working with suppliers who prioritize sustainability.
  4. Offer exclusive items: Consider creating limited-edition or exclusive merchandise items that are only available for a short time. This can create a sense of urgency and encourage fans to make a purchase.
  5. Don’t overprice: While you want to make a profit from your merchandise, make sure that the pricing of all items are reasonable.
  6. Pro Tip: Find the best place to sell used band shirts. If you have some shirts from older live shows or albums, these are still great to offer to your fans at a discount. Bandcamp and Bandzoogle offer store features, so you can add them there.

Conclusion and where to start with online merch sale

With the above-mentioned tips, you can start to earn some extra income and build a stronger relationship with your fan base.
To start, you could try out a small set of merch, like coffee mugs or t-shirts, and see how your fans like it.
Pro-tip: If there are specific ways your fans communicate with you, for example use certain catchphrases you also often use, these could be great to add to a piece of merch!

Keep making awesome music, and share it with the world!

Maurice from