Band playing gig

How to get the BEST band merchandise EVER, on a cheap budget

Band playing gig

With festival season almost upon us there was never a better to start thinking about gig merchandise.

Music and fashion have gone hand in hand since what feels like the beginning of time, however, many artists are taking their merchandise to the next level, and are even sparking entire fashion movements. Big name artists like Beyonce are now launching lines that are being received with as much excitement as a new album. Additionally this is becoming an increasingly popular way to drive revenue in an industry where this is becoming harder and harder.
That being said, most of us still have to dream about the kind of budget Beyonce has for her gig merch.

So how can you get creative with your band merch, while still keeping prices low?! This we will get onto later in the article!

First things first, do I even need band t-shirts and gig merch?!

The first question, and one many bands ask is, ‘do we even need band merchandise’. While we are slightly bias, the evidence suggests that it is a REALLY good idea. In 2016, the global music merchandise market was worth about $3.1 billion. To put that into perspective the gross revenues from live music concerts worldwide during that same year was $4.88 billion. This tells us that your merchandise is literally almost as important as your live shows when it comes to generating income.


Global music revenue sources infographic

Sources: LIMA, Statista, IFPI |


It’s not about money it’s about music

We get it, you’re doing what you love, and commercialising your art and thinking of yourself as a brand rather than just a band, does suck the fun out of it a little. Let alone having to take the focus away from the music and put it into something like merchandise. However, merchandise can be awesome and a great way to convert your fans into walking billboards. They want to be boasting about their love for your music, so give them a way to do so with some cool creative merchandise. Plus something like a quirky fun t-shirt is a far nicer gig souvenir than a ticket stub.

What’s more merchandise like band t-shirts can be a great way to propel your music into more eager ears, with merchandise today becoming more and more entwined into musical releases. According to the BBC the bulk of the charts is now made up of streams, which take weeks to properly accumulate and in turn have their presence felt. In order to drive those vital sales on opening-week that can propel an artist into the top 40, record companies are becoming more and more dependent on essentially creating packages or bundles; which normally include something like a t-shirt and gig ticket, and sell these through direct to consumer (D2C) stores. The success of this for big name artists can be phenomenal. An example of this which made the headlines is Travis Scott’s record Astroworld, where he sold $200K worth of clothes alone in the first week of it’s release. Niki Minaj cited this was the reason his record beat her album to the number one spot - and called on the Billboard charts to change the rules on how ticket and merch bundles equate to album sales. Proof in the pudding, people want band merch.


How to get band t-shirts cheap

So you’re convinced, merchandise can in fact be useful, and can help drive your music into the spot light, but you’re on a tight budget, and need to get your band t-shirts as cheap as humanly possible.

We’ve outlined a few top tips below:


1) Define Your Brand
Whether you know it or not, your band has core values and a story that encompasses all you do. It’s this that you want to reflect through your products. You’ll want your audience to recognise your band just by looking at the design - like we all know the Rolling Stones by their lips logo/t-shirts regardless to whether you’ve heard the music or not.
Keep things simple, don’t create hundreds of designs and try to buy a batch of products all with different designs; stick to 1 or 2 really strong designs, and create a strong brand. A great bi-product of this is, with fewer designs your order will come out cheaper.


2) Know your Audience
It’s vital to know your audience, if you’re audience is predominantly vegan animal lovers, then an organic earth friendly t-shirt or product is likely the best way forward. Even though it may be a little more expensive, if you’re able to sell more because your audience loves the products the return on investment will be greater. What’s more, you may be able to make your prices a little higher as a result; with millennials now proven to spend more on brands that are socially and environmentally conscious this is certainly something to think about.

A great example of an artist who knows what her fans want is Taylor Swift; on her Reputation Stadium Tour she chose to sell the higher end Bella & Canvas unisex t-shirts (a smart way to reduce costs is to go for a unisex option), check out the video below to see why she chose these products and why her fans LOVE them.


3. Choose Your Blanks
To keep things low cost we recommend minimal variations. For the best price, we advise going for a low price product like a t-shirt and purchasing all of your garments in the same colour with the same design on them. Mixing and matching products and colours will increase the price. You’ll find our most cost effective Gildan t-shirt here


4) Create Your Art
Keep it simple, generally 1 coloured designs that are simple will be far cheaper to produce that a full colour all singing and dancing design. Avoid special effects, relabelling and other non essentials as these are just going to bump the price up.


4) Print Your Merch
With A.M. Custom Clothing, you can purchase 1 product or thousands, we have no minimum order (when ordering through our Online Shop). So whether you want to purchase a couple of products to test the water with your online store, or a whole batch to take and sell at your gig we’ve got you covered. What we can tell you is buying 25 or more products is going to ensure the cheapest band t-shirts, compared to an order of less.

You can find more tips to get your t-shirt printing cheaper here.

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