Chapter 20:Merchandising

Merchandising is a big part of generating income for a band or artist, especially as we now live in an era where illegal music downloads are commonplace, meaning that bands aren’t making as money as they should from their music itself.

However, one of the best parts of merchandising is that people are actually paying to become a walking advert for you or your band. By purchasing an item of clothing that has your logo and branding emblazoned across it, they are simply doing it because they are a fan and like it; however, they have unknowingly become a billboard and they have paid for the pleasure of doing it.

Whilst they are walking around with your t–shirt on, other people are also looking at it and either acknowledging who you are, or wondering who you are, thus sparking off an interest to find out.

There are hundreds of products on the market that can be turned into band merchandising and once an artist has developed a solid brand, it is easy to translate this brand onto various objects.

Whilst there are regulation products that every artist should sell as part of their merchandise, many artists are also taking to thinking outside of the box to sell items that are synonymous with their image, but unlike any other product on the market.

Some unique merchandise examples are:

  • Kylie Minogue – Evian water changed to Kylie water
  • KISS – a silver casket. That’s right; you can actually purchase a coffin with KISS’ branding emblazoned all over it.
  • Elbow – beer
  • One Direction – toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • U2 – condoms, ensuring that U2 don’t become U3
  • Deadmau5 – mp3 speakers

Merchandise products that are a must for any touring band consist of the following:


The most obvious yet the most influential product is the humble t–shirt. You can brand your t–shirts however you want and offer fans a wide variety of options to choose from; why not do something a little more obscure with your design and create a t–shirt that isn’t obvious that it is related to you. When you create more subtle designs, people will be more inclined to wear the t–shirt on a regular basis, which will encourage people to ask about where it is from if they like it.


Badges are great merchandise as they are small and subtle, ideal for those who like to show their favourite artist support, without being too in your face.


Another staple of your merchandise repertoire, posters are popular because they are cheap souvenirs for people to buy; everybody wants to buy merchandise and those who aren’t on a high budget can still get something.


This is one of the most obvious pieces of merchandise that you can have at a show; mix it up a little so that people who already have the CDs that you are selling are offered a special edition that is only available at the concert, with some extra tracks.

When pricing up your merchandise, make it affordable as opposed to overcharging people; when people come to see you perform, they have already paid out for a ticket. Merchandising shouldn’t be there to milk your fans dry, it’s there to give them the opportunity to invest in your brand further.