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Merchandising is the term used to describe products that advertise another product. If you have ever purchased a poster, t-shirt or pen with your favourite band or artists name, logo or picture prominently displayed then you have bought one of their merchandising products.

The products themselves can be pretty much anything you can think of, everything from dolls to cereal have been manufactured to earn a secondary revenue stream and publicise the artist, band or latest album release. Many of these items are given away in 'Goodie Bags' to radio stations who use them as prizes to build up their listening figures.

Television, Film and Record companies use merchandising on a regular basis to create a 'Brand Interest', raising public awareness about a new artist or the latest release is standard practice and can be extremely profitable if the artist is popular. Certainly Entertainment is one of the few areas in which a company, band or artist can actually get away with selling their own advertising!! Buy a Vocalist T-Shirt! Visit our shop and browse our merchandise

Large companies like record labels, can afford to manufacture several different products and give away thousands of freebies. Whilst this is not financially viable for an unsigned artist without substantial funding, most entertainers can produce their own merchandising at a reasonable cost.

Create your own Merchandising! If you have a computer then use it to your advantage. There are several software programs that allow you to design and print your own iron on logos for T-Shirts, Mugs and other items available from most PC shops.

Get it Cheap - splashing out on a few pens with your logo printed on them, mugs, t-shirts, cd's etc., can all be produced at a reasonably low cost and sold at gigs or given away as promotional material.  Keep track of stock including 'give aways' and don't overcharge, the end aim is to get people to know who you are, see you live and buy your music.

TIPS
Squish as much info as possible onto available space, without the product looking too busy. Clarity is the key. Logo, Name and Website Address should be included on all larger items. Incorporating the name and website address into your logo will save both space and produce more effective results.

CD's - Turn your demo into a marketing product. Two or three tracks are average for a single release, so why not produce a few as giveaways. Include a picture of the band and link to your website or a snippet of live footage. With blank CD's costing as little as 40p each (bulk purchase 100) and free software that allows you to press and burn your own CD's available on the internet it's one of the cheapest advertising tools that you can create yourself and if you don't have the gear then get a shop like CafePress who will burn, press, process and ship them for you! Sell your CD's directly from your own Website

Baseball Caps and other headwear - Add a neat logo to a plain cap, great for sales in the summer. Buy a Vocalist Mug! Visit our shop and browse our merchandise

Mugs - plain white mugs can be purchased cheaply direct from manufacturers. Also check out car boot sales and damaged goods shops. The latter supply products that are only slightly marked if at all but are beneath a major chains specifications. This means you can buy a bulk load of mugs that may have originally been manufactured for a high street store!

MouseMats - nice, neat, flat, easy to post and cheap to buy in bulk.

Pens - negotiate with the manufacture and buy in bulk - it works out cheaper.

Posters - Choose a good picture of you, the band or the album cover & sell 'em cheap!

T-Shirts - Only use 1 or 2 colours for the logo to keep down the cost and purchase small quantities to start with, the printer may also help to create the design or provide end of line stock for a discounted price.

Screensavers - Create and sell your own screensavers using a screen saver utility available from download sites like Tucows and Cnet.

If you don't have the time or computer savvy to create your own merchandise there are internet shops who can do it for you.

CafePress
FREE! Just sign up and upload your sounds, data and/or images! Sell your CD's or add your logo or picture to a wide range of products including T-shirts, Mugs, Mousemats, Sweatshirts, Posters, Baseball Caps, Briefcases, Bags and other neat stuff in your very own online shop. No sign up fee and no charges except with the premium service. They set a base price for producing each item i.e., Mousemat base price = $5.00. You then have the option to increase the cost price by however much you want to earn from the product which appears as the final amount that your customers will pay for the goods i.e, $0.50 - final cost to purchaser $5.50 - Cafepress get $5.00 and you get $0.50 or whatever extra amount you have added to the base price. If you don't have the time, expertise or funds to produce your own products, this is a great way to sell yourself and your merchandise and get paid! You don't even need to have a website!! Just open a shop and print your unique shop url on all your publicity, business cards, stationary etc., You can even order your products at cost price in bulk and sell them to your fans at gigs!!!! Click Here to visit our gift shop!

Design and Create your own T-shirts and other promotional material T-Shirt Factory Deluxe
Use your computer to design and print your own Iron-On Transfers! Promote your band with your own self-produced T-Shirts from Amazon.co.uk. Easy to use and tons of fun......hmmmm now wheres that iron ;-)

Product Suppliers

The following companies are just a few that provide custom designs on a variety of products. Many small local printers and companies supply similar services so check the yellow pages and compare prices before settling one to supply your merchandise.

Attitude Promotions
UK company providing pens, sweets and other branded products for your business.

Badge A Minit
US company providing do it yourself button making machines, accessories, computer software and helpful ideas.

Button Badge
UK company providing buttons and fridge magnets made to order.

Band T-Shirts
available from Backstreet International Merchandise (UK)

ClickBank
An affiliate company that allows you to sell products and services and accept credit cards from their site without a merchant account! Wether you choose to sell your own products or provide your users with text links to products related to your site, using an affiliate company like ClickBank makes it easy!

Just Brass UK
provides an online store for your online sales. Set up links from your website or advertise the store address they give you.

Katya Custom Embroidery
provides custom promo items, logos, patches - No Minimum Order!

MBC Badge Company
UK company based in the Midlands providing a wide variety of badges made to order.

Nymphs Of Bacchus
Manchester based bespoke designers and printers offering a a comprehensive merchandising service and design service for bands. Small orders welcome.

Promotional Merchandise UK
site listing companies providing promotional products.

Rocket Badge Company
Provides promotional badges, key rings and other items for companies, individuals and charities.

Scotgold
provide a range of badges, labels and decals made to order.

Sell Tickets for your own Events!
ts.com provides an online ticketing system tailored to your needs.

Related Articles

These are just a small sample of links to articles that are available in our Marketing Articles section. All links open in a new window.

Music Promotion
articles on promoting your music, choosing an internet record label and other related subjects from journalist Sean McManus who wrote regularly for Making Music and other magazines.