Bands. We all love their music and merchandise. But it comes to a point where every band is producing the same item as each other, just with a different design and band name attached to it. That's just as bad as jumping on the 'band'-wagon, going with what is popular and going against the whole purpose of being original (which in turn might question the originality of the music).
Yet when bands moan that they are not making money on merchandise, have they not thought that the items they are selling are near enough the same as every other band going? Fans demand a lot and as music downloads slice a 15 inch deep wound within the music industry's sales reports, bands are having to turn to other ideas to generate profit.
In time, music downloads may well die a natural death as tapes, vinyl's and CD's keep selling and they too became succeeded by another form of media. Question is what will replace music downloads? Streams seem to be the most likely option, but are we relying too much on the digital age to convey our music? Let alone the band's having their products sold through merchandise stores like Grindstore and Loud Clothing?
Let's take this back to the merchandise topic and ask ourselves, what are eight ideas that bands could potentially invest in, that could be cost-effective and unique in every dimension.
Of course not all bands would be able to afford these ideas and we are fully aware of this, but the whole idea of this post is to generate ideas for bands in general and to point out gaps in the merchandise market.
"There is a strong demand for Michael Jackson's music and merchandise, and that will only increase as more material surfaces in the years following his death" - Adam Kluger
The now defunct Melodic Death Metal / Metalcore band The Dead Lay Waiting took this route (read it here), and inspired themselves to design, order and sell syringe-shaped USB's. We all use them, whether to transport school, college or uni work, for business work or purely just to transport files across from one place to another. So this is a great way to 'connect' with your fans more and to expand your technological side of the band's merchandise repertoire.
There are plenty of USB custom designers out there, so comparing offers is fairly easy. As for the bands, as soon as they have their USB's delivered and ready to sell, once sold they can begin to realize that they, like Nokia, can connect with people - in this instance the fans.
Sites to visit:- USB Makers / USB2U / Vistaprint / Design!t Flash
Those handy writing tools known as pens are perhaps the most common item you would find in anyone's hand at a place of education or anyone who has to deal with paperwork at any given time. Now Iron Maiden have done this before (click here to buy), but because pens aren't that all too expensive at purchasing custom made, this is an ideal merchandise idea for any band.
Especially when sites like Vistaprint can produce 5 pens at the best price of £12 (click here). Sure they will eventually become useless; unless the option for refillable cartridges was there, when the ink runs out or the spring mechanism goes, but this is quite the novel idea for bands to sell to their fans. So instead of 'writing' a riff or two, they could 'click' into the idea of investing into pens for their fans.
Sites to visit:- Vistaprint / Pens Unlimited / Custom Ink / Promotion Pens
iPhone / iTouch / iPod covers
Most of us, if not the vast majority, either own an iPhone, an iTouch or an iPod (classic per se), so why not have bands design their own covers like India's Demonic Resurrection have done(click here). Again some bands might not be able to afford this, there might be a way around this in as far as bands asking designers whether they could sell these covers without any fee being passed to the designer, and the band earning a percentage of sales.
It would bid farewell to the basic, boring cases which stores like Apple and Carphone Warehouse sell. Moreover it feels a little more personalized - unless you purchase the same model, make, color and case, then it WILL be interesting. These could always be made to order and this would probably be the better option, rather than stocking them.
You could always password protect the device or maybe, just maybe, in the future implement finger scanning software... we're digressing here... let's get back to the merchandise article.
Sites to visit:- Case App / Cafe Press / Like My Case / Custom Funk
Sure some bands like AC/DC and Iron Maiden have already released their own signature alcoholic drinks, but with beer kits becoming so readily available and the ability to make home made alcohol already established, the potential for smaller bands to do this can become realistic.
Can you imagine bands unveiling alcohol pertaining to their own country? What if they used a portmanteau to make their drinks known? Let's have a few examples:
Rammstein + Jagermeister = "Rammeister"
Crossfaith + Sake = "Crosssake"
Arkona + Vodka = "Vodkona"
You get the idea.
The wine though would bode well if AC/DC performed at the Australia and New Zealand music festivals 'A Day On The Green' (click here for an article we did about this festival), just imagine drinking the AC/DC Platinum wine edition, in a vineyard, whilst they're playing in their home country, how cool would that be? OK maybe not as cool as Rammeister though....
Sites to visit:- The Home Brew Shop / Home Brewing / The Brewmarket
Let's go a bit on the insane side..
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