Merchandise is a must for musicians—always been.
Releasing albums, EPs, and singles, may that be digitally or physically, isn’t likely enough to supplement the musicians personal and professional needs. We could always have more.
Thanks to band merch, musicians and artists can still fund their musical journey.
That’s not all, though.
It also helps in promoting themselves and their music. You see, merchandise is not just a source of revenue, but also a tool for marketing.
If you’re a band planning to start your merch line, this post is for you.
We have here a list of 10 of the best merch items indie bands should start with when having their first merchandise release.
With customization, these custom merch items will be the best.
Table of Contents
#10. PHONE CASES
These days, most people own at least one cell phone and to keep them protected or make them look better, people buy phone cases for it.
This item is one of the most inexpensive ways to display your band’s logo or name constantly in front of your fans, their family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers they happen to pass by.
Remember to have phone cases for both iPhone and Android and have them for different models so your fans will have options.
A small trinket that fans will surely love to see dangling from their bags, wallets, or car keys.
This merch item has by far the widest variety of options you can have for customization. You can have metal, plastic, rubber, cloth, beads, crochet and more for your keychain.
And within those different materials, there are other sets of customization options you can choose from.
It’s a perfect custom merch item for you.
Patches are the upgrade you’re looking for from the stickers you’ve been seeing from other merch releases.
They’re basically your band’s embroidered logo that your fans will be able to stick to their shirts, jackets, caps, pants, shoes, bags and more which will surely be used when they go out.
Custom embroidered patches allow you to customize the shape, size, and design.
The more customized the patches, though, the more you pay for it so keep that in mind.
A much older way of attaching the band’s logo on clothing are pins or buttons.
It has been around for decades as a way for fans to show their support and love for their favorite bands and they are still popular today.
There are many options to complete your custom pins.
There’s the unique die-cut pins and trendy enamel pins, but some still stick with the old but classic round dome-shaped pins.
If you want to go for a more practical merch, then you can have mugs for your release.
It’s perfect because they can be used everyday while it flashes your band logo, name, a line from your song, and even your faces.
They are highly customizable too since there are different sizes for it.
You can have those standard mugs, the tall ones, travel mugs, beer mugs, and more.
Hats, no matter the weather, are worn by people with different demographics.
They’re a very functional and versatile head accessory that appeals to a wider audience making it a perfect merch to release.
If your budget is tight, there are print on demand companies that offer a cheaper alternative which is printing, rather than the expensive embroidering.
Though I have mentioned that patches are a level up from stickers, it still does not remove the fact that stickers are cheaper and easier to use.
Easier to use due to the fact that it can be stuck on a variety of surfaces, plastic, paper, glass, and more.
It’s a great merch item for fans who love designing their notebooks, diaries, and more with stickers.
They can also be used to design phones and laptops which is even better.
This is a very popular merchandise and it’s cheap too when you compare it to the other items of this list.
Most bands don’t have this for their release, so why not try to be different with this?
Posters generally sell well too, so if you have a good-sized fanbase, then they’ll surely buy them especially if they’re teenage girls.
Most of them love pasting posters on their room walls.
When you’re releasing during the colder seasons, instead of having shirts you can try having hoodies.
They’re great for layering during the cold, it has long sleeves and even has a hoodie.
Aside from that, they’re cozy, comfy and fashionable still.
They’re pricier than t-shirts though so you might want to cut down usual t-shirt numbers into half to give some space for other merch.
And number one is t-shirt. This merch item is the staple of custom band merch.
It’s rare for a band’s merch table that doesn’t have a custom band shirt displayed.
Most of them may just have sold theirs out.
It’s the perfect starter merch for indie bands because it’s wearable, meaning it’s like a walking billboard, it’s cheaper than others, already has a reputation and it can be worn wherever and whenever.
Just make sure that your designs are unique and beautiful too.
When releasing your merch, you can opt to have just one of these.
However, it would be best to have at least three different merch items. This gives your fans something to choose from.
Trust me, you really don’t want to sell just phone cases.
Get a quote or hit us up using the chat button. We’ve made merch for Obama and hundreds of indie bands. We can make one for you too!
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA.