How to Make and Sell Music Merchandise
Selling music merchandise is an important part of the promotion of your brand. If you’ve booked some gigs and have a following of loyal fans, making and selling custom merch can help promote your image as a performer, create engagement with your fans and raise some extra money.
Selling music merchandise is a great way to promote your music material by reaching your audience directly. It can be through the form of T-shirts, CDs, key rings, posters and other items. This article will explain how to design and sell your music merchandise both online through your website and social media, as well as offline during gigs and concert.
If you want to get your music to a larger audience, then you have to promote yourself like a pro. Selling your own merchandise as a singer is a great ways to raise some money and create a brand. But what merchandise should you sell to them?
How do I start my own merchandise?
First, research and ask your fan what kind of merchandise they would love to have and would find most handy. You can put a little survey on social media such as Instagram, YouTube or Facebook on what kind of merchandise your fans would enjoy. Then, you can research merchandises by other bands and see what sells the best.
Once you get an understanding of the best kind of merchandise, try to be original by researching what has not been done before. You can get original by creating your own logo or your own branding design. Try to be as creative as possible by thinking of what would represent the best your style of music and the personality of your band.
How do you design and make your merchandise?
First, make sure you establish a budget before deciding on a design and type of merchandise. One of the best ideas is to draw a table and write down on what side what your fans enjoy and on the other side your budget. This technique will allow you to spread your budget and decide on the design and type of merchandise.
Another great way to make the most of your budget is to track what you are spending and how much you have left. After considering your budget, you can start thinking of which companies specialise in your types of merchandise. A good idea is to ask other musicians which companies they ordered their merchandise from and which ones they recommend to you.
These are some of the companies we would recommend to you even though we still advise you do your own research.
- T-shirt, posters, hoodies, bags and other wearable items.
- Business cards, bags, mugs, gifts, pens.
- Logos and branding.
Before designing your merchandise, you have to consider what styles and colours best reflect your brand. You can also choose a catchy sentence or song title that could remind your fans of your music. You can also design your own merchandise. By using software such as Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator but also other resources like GIMP and Inscape. Once you found the design of your merchandise you can send it to your supplier.
How much merchandise should you make?
The best is to buy a package that includes offers and price discount. For example, if you can get 50 business cards for free if you buy 150 it would be best to buy 150 of them instead of 100. Concerning the number of merchandise, you should order, it depends on the number of fans you have and what package would be the best for saving. The more stock you order the cheaper it usually is. It is important you make sure your order your merchandise well in advance so the price stays cheaper.
How much should you charge for your merchandise?
The recommended markup (the ratio between the cost of a good and it’s selling price) is between 20% and 50%. The average price for a T-shirt or sweater is usually £25 to £30. CDs are usually in the range of £7 to £10 and EP around £5 each. As for posters, they are usually around £15, and USB sticks with albums, videos and bonuses are around £15.
You can also think of doing combos, for example:
- T-shirt and CD: £25
How to sell your merchandise offline?
The best way to sell your merchandise is on tour during a gig or while busking. By purchasing your CDs or T-shirt your fans will also be more likely to share and promote your band. The only drawback is that it is easy to buy to little or too much stock of merchandise. You might also need to carry the merchandise along with your instruments and sets up.
How do you sell your merchandise online?
There will be a lot more options for selling your music merchandise online. You can also allow your fans to choose the model and design of your product.
How do I sell merchandise on my website?
When selling on your website, make sure the page is organised so your fans know what they are buying. The best would be to have an image for each item and a buy button underneath each of them. You can also describe the items with a little note on the story behind them and who designed them. It is also important to create category sections that include CDs, T-shirts and other accessories. Properly think of the website design and use of colours for the background and design.
Make sure you add digital options such as tracks, eBooks, sheet music which would be very useful for your fans and easier to purchase.
It is also important to change merchandise regularly by adding new items, clearing old items and offering a discount code to the fans in your mailing list.
One of the best ways to interact with your fans is to run a giveaway competition. For example, you could ask your fans to send you photographs for your next design and the one who makes the best artwork wins free merchandise.
What types of merchandise can I sell?
There is a lot of merchandise variety you can sell from clothing to phone cases. Think about what people would use the most and try to make a list out of it.
The list of items you can sell include but not limited to:
- Vinyl and cassettes (limited editions): Fans who are music amateur and audiophile would really appreciate this type of items
- Hoodies and T-shirts: Clothes are one of the most popular items your fans would be likely to buy. They are also easier to promote your brand as your fans would wear them. Other wearable items like hats and glasses can also reach the potential demand of your fans.
- Phone cases: Phone cases are a great way to display your brand logo to your fans. You can make different sizes for both iPhone and Android.
- Mugs: they are also part of the staples that your fans may use a lot
- CDs and USB keys: This is a great way to promote both your music and your brand
- Prints: They are a very easy way to advert your band and music
- Key rings: Very useful item that people are likely to have with them all the time.
Other items you can also think of selling include sheet music and guitar chords so your fans can learn your music.
How do I sell music merchandise from my YouTube Channel?
The best is to select two items that best reflect your Youtube channel and would add value to your brand. Then, you can ask your audience what kind of merchandise they would like to buy from you. You can also think of a promotion plan before, during and after the merchandise launch. Make sure you are using approved merchandise site where you can link your merchandise from.
How do I choose an online shop to sell?
Below are listed a few online shops you can sell your merchandise from.
Bandzoogle is an online store for bands and musicians where you can build a website with a store, and other marketing tools. It has a-day free trial and subscription plans from £8.29/month.
Shopify is also another good option for independent bands and musicians. It offers a 14-day free trial then you have to choose a plan. They also provide themes you can use to display your merchandise. You have the possibility to sell downloadable music and other merchandise.
Merch direct helps you sell directly music and tickets to your fan base.
Dizzy jam is free to sign up without plans. You can also sell directly to your fans through a Facebook store and you receive the profit every two months through PayPal.
Do I need to declare my merchandise?
You will need to register as a sole trader with HMRC. You can prepare the tax for the year by keeping track of your income and expenditure. As well as paying tax on gigs and concert earnings you will also have to pay for CDs sale, online track, and music merchandise. The best is to keep a record of your income on a spreadsheet.
How can I promote my merchandise and let my fans know about it?
Promotion for music merchandise is the same as for your music.
Facebook posts: You can post about your merchandise on Facebook with a link towards the shop so you can let your fans know about it and so they can share it.
You need a Facebook business page and a Shopify store so people can buy directly within Facebook. To set a Facebook shop you need to connect to Facebook and to your page. Then, you will need to click on setting, then edit page and select the Shopping template. You can also add a shop tab to your page by going to your page clicking settings, edit page, then click add a tab to the bottom of the page.
#1 Facebook Ads
You can reach a wider audience by creating ads usually costing around £1 or £2 a day.
#2 Posting on Pinterest
Pinterest has over 200 million monthly active users. It is a great way to sell your merchandise and reach to a wider crowd.
#3 Pre-roll ads
Pre-roll ads are short video ads on Youtube, which is a great way to promote your merchandise. It is important that your ads only are visible before the most similar videos.
#4 Instagram stories
By posting Instagram stories, you can see who has watched it and identify your audience. You can also drop them a message with a discount code. Once you reach 10,000 followers or more you can also include links within your Instagram Stories, which could help people to check your online store more easily.
#5 Instagram shoppable posts
Similar to Facebook stores, it gives the opportunity to your fans to buy your merchandise within Instagram. You can download this guide than explains how to advertise your products on Instagram.
#6 Sending emails to your fans
Another great way to sell your items and promote your music is reaching to your fans by email. You can ask your fans to subscribe to a mailing list. This is a great way to correspond to your fans directly. Your audience will be more likely to purchase items from their favourite band.
Leaflets are a great way to let your fans know about your merchandise when they see you perform at your gigs. Those leaflets should contain the information about your online store and possibly a discount code.
To sum up, there are a few steps to making and selling your merchandise. These include first creating the logo and design, then determining the manufacturer, the shops and ways to promote them.
Make sure that you design and sell items that are handy for your fans such as T-shirt, CDs, accessories, and mugs. Use emails, social networks and newsletter to correspond with your fans about your merchandise and any questions they may have.
Have you made and sold your own merchandise fans yet? Leave us a link to your merch in the comments below!