At the end of the day, artists have businesses to run. Part of financing these businesses means branding yourself and selling merchandise accordingly. But you’re not the only one selling merch.
Don’t be the kind of musician that sells the exact same merch types as everyone else. Try to think through your merch strategy and pick some cool merch ideas that reflect you as an artist. We’ve listed the top 9 cool merch ideas for artists below, but first…
What is the best type of merch for artists?
When it comes to the music business, of course there are the usual suspects when it comes to merch types: clothing, bags, or physical music like CDs or vinyl come to mind.
Which type of merch works best for you as an artist depends heavily on your artist brand and the way you portray yourself. The genre of music you make and the average age of your fans also influence which merch types are likely to be a success.
Start with some proper audience research to find out what your fanbase likes. You can try using social media to gauge which merch ideas get the most engagement, before you commit to any specific merch idea, too.
Top 9 cool merch ideas you can use as inspiration
To make sure your artist merch really stands out among the crowd, we listed 9 cool merch ideas you should consider selling.
1. Signed posters
Nothing beats personalised merch. Signing an object personally increases its value hundredfold and – in small batches, at least – requires little to no effort. All you need is a poster design, a pen, and some time to sign your posters.
Sure, you could also opt for outsourcing signing these posters if you’re short on time and want to sell in bulk. This does mean you’ll run the risk of your fans finding out you weren’t the one sticking the autograph on these posters.
Pro-tip: make these posters limited edition and number them accordingly for additional authenticity. Your fans will love it!
2. Video games
Granted, this will take up some resources and take you from the world of music marketing into that of game development. But launching your own (mini) video game is a really cool merch idea for artists, if you ask us.
Here’s an example: music label The North Quarter developed a miniature version of a popular basketball game in order to celebrate one of their new releases. Sadly, it isn’t available to play anymore, but it was a very unique experience for fans.
If you have the resources to pull something like this off, we’re sure fans would be up for paying a small amount of money to play a video game starring their favourite artist.
3. Sample packs
This is a really cool merch idea, especially for DJs and electronic music producers. Chances are likely that fans of these types of artists dabble in electronic music production themselves, too.
Sample packs are collections of sounds like loops and vocals specifically intended for producers to use to produce their own music. These sounds can come in a variety of forms, and are sometimes created and sold by artists themselves.
Offering sample packs as merch allows your fans to work with the same ‘building blocks’ you did when creating their favourite tunes. This really engages your fanbase and makes them a part of your musical endeavours and explorations.
4. Limited Edition T-Shirts
T-shirts should be part of every self-respecting music artist’s merch strategy. But common marketing principles and tactics can really take your t-shirt merch game to the next level. The main marketing principle we’re talking about is that of scarcity.
Similar to the signed poster merch idea we mentioned earlier, releasing t-shirts in (very) limited editions helps create a sense of scarcity that will help make sure you sell out in no time. Consider selling these t-shirts for a limited time or limiting the batch to a small number.
Limited edition t-shirts work exceptionally well when they’re made in honour of a specific event like:
- One of your recent gigs
- An upcoming tour
- Recent album or single releases
However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to these traditional merch moments. There are so many other opportunities to create and sell merch. Remember: every day is a merch day.
5. Wall Art
Here’s why wall art is such a cool merch idea: fans are literally decorating their homes with your artwork. Just think about it. Everyday when they wake up, they’ll see your latest album cover hanging on the wall.
As a budding artist, it’s important to stay top of mind, always. Especially since the music industry is getting increasingly saturated, and you’re always vying for the attention of your fans. With wall art merch, you’re occupying a little bit of space inside your fans’ homes.
Like t-shirts, hoodies should always be a part of your artist merch strategy. Whether it’s a slightly chilly evening in spring, a cold autumn afternoon, or simple loungewear at home: your fans love a good quality, comfy hoodie.
For an even cooler hoodie merch idea, try designing and selling unique hoodies like the ones that have a full zip up over your face. Anything you think would work well for your specific audience and which could set you apart from your competition.
7. Tote Bags
Like t-shirts and hoodies, what’s great about tote bags is that their public nature contributes to awareness of your artist brand. People take these things outside with them, meaning others will see them too.
Cool tote bag designs make for awesome merch. Tote bags also serve a very practical purpose, so your fans are more likely to use this merch type a lot. This is another reason to prioritise this cool merch idea. It gets the eyes on your artist brand.
Comics are another great merch idea if you want to do something unique. Again, like the video game idea, this might take up some more resources – for one, you’ll need a comic book artist – but it’ll ensure you can offer fans something authentic and cool.
A comic book detailing your artist origin story could really bring your bio to life. Who knows, it might even turn out to be a valuable collector’s item once your music career and stardom hit their peak.
This is another commonly used item that, with the right design and artwork, could end up being a very cool addition to your merch strategy. Of course, as an item that’s mainly used as smoking paraphernalia, lighters should suit your artist brand and strike a chord with your fans.
A great example of lighter merch in the music industry would be that of late rapper Lil Peep. In one of his music videos, Lil Peep showed a lighter with his name and the words ‘Ash is our purest form’ on it.
This lighter was later included in a release of a memorial merch line, as it truly embodied the artist and his brand.
Any other cool merch ideas? Let us know!
These ideas are just a few examples of the type of merch you could be designing and offering to your fans. Like we said: every day is a potential merch day. Make sure you stay relevant to fans by adding new merch regularly.
With a solution like Fanbace’s print on demand merch platform, you’ll be able to ship new merch ideas within minutes of having dreamed them up. Without risk, stock or limits.
If you have any cool merch ideas you think we should add to this list, please let us know!