band merch tips from experts

Band Merch Tips From Band Merch Experts


Brian Taranto has been rocking the merch industry since 1985. He launched Love Police, a company that has gone on to be a force of the merch industry.

“With the onset of indie bands, trying to be a bit cooler and slacker with design or reference can work well… or bomb miserably. You know hipsters, they don’t always want to look like everyone else, even though they do. Sure, hire a designer if you have a vision you think your fans will go for, but don’t overthink it, and don’t overproduce with too many options. “

“With the styles of blank shirts and garments around these days, it is hard to not produce merch of a decent quality. The thing to be more aware of is how good the printing is. A quality shirt with a shit print job or bad print size is a shit shirt no matter how excellent the actual shirt is.”

“Never charge too little. It’s my belief that if things are too cheap in comparison to what a regular priced shirt is, people may be wary of quality. It’s also something a band should be proud of, so you shouldn’t feel bad charging market prices for your merch. Generally speaking, shirts at a club-level are $30-35, festival and theatres $40-45, arenas and stadiums $45-50. “

“We have done board shorts and leggings which were killer, but didn’t sell. It feels like if the punter doesn’t know his/her size instantly, like they do with a T-shirt or hoodie, they tend to shy away from those items.”


Duane Jackson is the manager of 24HUNDRED, a leading name in online and physical merchandise.

“Please don’t think you’re bigger than you are. Just because you’ve played a sold-out room of 250 people on a Friday night, it doesn’t mean your fans want to buy custom basketball jerseys at $90 a pop or G-strings with your band name on them. Start with T-shirts and singlets because they work. From there, you can dabble in winter wear (hoodies and crews) and summer items like shorts.

“It doesn’t matter how cool your band is, or how cool you think your band is, without appealing design, your audience will not want to wear your gear. Understand your market, do your research. You’re in the market, you probably wear cool shit – would you wear your own band’s merch? You’d want to hope so.”

“Merchandise is completely trend based. Things come and go. design styles come and go, unique items come and go. We went through a huge tie dye phase the last couple of years, for example. We tie-dyed tees, tanks, we tie-dyed crew neck jumpers, we bleach-dyed hoodies, it was crazy, but it worked, but you also have to know when to stop flogging a dead horse. If you’re that band selling a trend after the trend died, you look old and dated.”


“Generally vinyl, CDs, zip-up hoodies, soft, well-fit t-shirts and cotton tote bags sell great. Hats, download cards, boxy unisex shirts, photos don’t sell well. Posters are hit or miss, depends on the graphic. Also, don’t charge for stickers or pins. These are fantastic for getting people to your booth, but no one’s going to pay $1 for a sticker. While on the topic, your graphic on your merch is really important. If you’re slapping just your band name across things in a glaring color, you’re doing it wrong. I’ve personally bought shirts that I thought were really cute/awesome when I’ve only heard the band once. Put some thought into the colors you use, the quality of the shirts… give your graphic design/artist friends a case of beer to come up with an awesome image, then just include your band name somewhere in the mix. When someone is wearing it, and someone else says, “Hey, I love that shirt,” they’ll respond with “It’s from this band I saw last weekend.” Instant word-of-mouth! Also, people won’t wear/carry ugly things, even if you’re giving them away. Just sayin’.

via: Tonedeaf, Ourstage Magazine,
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