Why do we like wearing customized rock band t shirts? What’s with the band merch, really?
Well, what we wear reflects a lot of who we are. If you’re a guy or a gal who has average looks but has great personality and good taste, you win the game…sort of. If you can’t get them with your looks, you gotta get them by wearing a really cool rock band t-shirt! If you got great taste, you have an edge. All you have to do is put on your favorite band’s t-shirt and you instantly gain 10,000 points…from the people who matter, of course. Band t-shirts are also good conversation starters. Definitely wear it when you’re going to a party and you don’t know a single soul.
Now, if you’re in a band…that’s a totally different matter! You’re already too awesome that you won’t need a band t-shirt. Oh wait…you do, too. But not just to get attention because being a band already does that, you’ll need custom band t-shirts to sell to your fans and supporters. If you’re not convinced that you should sell t-shirts as merch, check out these numbers:
Sources: LIMA, Statista, IFPI
Merch, in which rock band t-shirts remain the most favorite and biggest source of revenue, is a HUGE source of income for musicians. According to the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, it is even so close to the revenue from live music!
LIMA reported that the global music merchandise market was worth $3.1 billion in 2016, up 9.4% from the $2.83 billion generated in 2015. To put that in perspective, the gross revenue from live music concerts worldwide during 2016 was $4.88 billion; while the global market for recorded music that same year was worth $15.7 billion, according to IFPI.
It’s no question. If you’re a musician or an artist of any kind, merch is definitely a must. If you’re still not convinced that you should go all-in in printing tees, read this article by the BBC. It details how much fans are willing to pay as well as the expenses and hidden costs of making band shirts.
Whether you’re an avid fan or you’re a band who’s trying to find a great t-shirt printing company online for your merch, here are some things to look for an online t-shirt printing company to do your tees:
#1. The t-shirt company is reputable and rather famous.
Check out their website. How long have they been in business? Are they quite famous? Do your friends know these printers? Do they appear on Google? Check out their Facebook page, too. It doesn’t follow all the time but a sign that a company is legit and has good service is their number of followers. It’s safe to say that a t-shirt company with 5,000 followers is more reliable than those with only 300 likes. You also have to check their Yelp and Google Places for reviews. If there are too many people saying bad things against them, skip this company even if they have 5,000 likes. Again, this is not the be all and end all but this is one thing you should look out for if you’re planning to have t-shirts made absolutely online.
#2 The t-shirt company offers many options for customization.
You want to have unlimited options for your t-shirts as well as unlimited options of t-shirt printing methods. If they only offer digital printing, skip it not only because your options will be limited, skip it because they might be a very young t-shirt printer with little experience. However, if you want to try t-shirt on demand wherein you only sell shirts entirely online and they’re printed only once ordered, then maybe having a digital t-shirt printing method only isn’t so bad. But for the more professional ones who want to make 100-1000 ready-made t-shirts for tours and gigs, then go for companies that have more options for t-shirt printing methods. It assures you two things: 1. That the company has been around for a while and therefore could possibly give you more professional service; 2. That you have more options for creativity.
#3 The t-shirt company offers other merch items.
Now this isn’t such a big deal if you’re not a musician. But for musicians, it’s wise to find a t-shirt company that’s not just a t-shirt company. Choose one that also offers other merch items so you can have everything done in one place. In our case, we offer t-shirt printing but we also do: custom buttons, custom USB music card, CDs, DVDs, posters, bags, custom pins, vinyl, stickers and so much more. That’s because we are a company that focuses on music merch.
#4 The t-shirt company offers print-on-demand and delivers to the venue.
If you’re a relatively new musician who’s just started touring and you don’t want to spend a lot on t-shirts upfront, you might want to consider having digital printed tees that you can order a few pieces at a time. Unlike silkscreen printing where it costs more to set up the design, with digital printing, all you need is just a digital file of your artwork and you can order even just one to two pieces (but of course this isn’t so smart since you need more than that if you’re on tour). But that only means you can have 4-5 shirt designs and not worry about minimums.
Unified does this and delivers your t-shirts straight to the venue. You won’t even lift a finger. Just give us your design and your address, and we’ll do the job.
#5 The t-shirt company offers sustainable shirts
Sustainable merchandise is now getting more and more of a must and it’s such a great thing. There is a growing need to ensure products are ethically made with the least impact on the environment as well as the ones making them. Millennials are especially very conscious of this and they’d think twice of buying products that come from sweatshops in Asia. But it doesn’t end in the shirts, the inks and the whole operations of the company, too. We use soy-based inks and we offer eco-friendly, ethical solutions.
Band t-shirts do not only help you have a sustainable career by giving you more income, they can also help promote your band. A really cool design that reflects your band’s personality can really go a long way…and the good thing is your fans are paying for your marketing. Now go ahead, stop reading this and start creating the coolest t-shirt design for your first batch of band shirts!
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/vinyl and merch company in LA.