The Rise of Custom Merchandise in the Music Industry

Posted by Graciela Robertson on Mar 12, 2019 9:56:28 AM
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Dead and Company branded merchandise by Anthem Branding

Bands used to leverage CDs, cassette tapes, and records to connect with their audience. In 2019, however, we have adapted to consuming music differently using streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and SoundCloud — cutting down the opportunity to tangibility interact with a band or musical artist.

In light of this shift, many music artists are reaching their fans in new ways such as opening pop-up stores and selling branded merchandise. This article will discuss the advantages of both.


How bands are using pop-up stores to engage their fans 

Pop-up stores are a short-term retail experience that millennials love. They consist of exciting unknown locations and creative store designs. They create social hype and urgency for fans. Pop-up stores give artists the opportunity to create an experience for their fans — allowing them to step into their creative mind.

"Life of Pablo" Pop-up shop Amsterdam Kanye West by Google Images

Pop-up shops are now replacing the experience of shopping at a brick-and-mortar store because they provide a fully-immersive experience in an exclusive and intimate way.

Offering limited unique promotional products within a pop-up store — that are hand-curated by a musical icon  not only can amplify that pop-up experience and generate the band more revenue but also offer fans promotional products that they will actually want to buy and cherish.

For example, Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo” pop-up shop helped promote a new album. The shop didn’t just pop-up in one location, but in 21 different cities, making a staggering $1 million in 21 days. This pop-up shop is an example of success with the tactic from the location choices, launch roll-out, and role and selection of curated branded merchandise."Life of Pablo" Pop-up shop Kanye West by Google Images

Why branded merchandise is about more than a quick buck for artists

“It’s about extending an artist’s brand through a global program of different consumer products,” says Max Vlasic CEO of Bravado, a music merchandising company that has worked with artists like Prince and Katy Perry. “It's important to learn from other industries where they have tapped  ideas around merchandising being a prominent marketing vehicle and being able to help build your brand.”

Creating uniquely branded promotional products that represent an artist’s beliefs and style creates a powerful tactile experience for fans to connect with on an emotional level.

Greensky Bluegrass Custom structured Flat brim Trucker by Anthem Branding

We believe the details truly make a design. Tactfully choosing the nuances that go into the final design such as the textures, fabrics, production methods, and colors all represent the ethos of the artist and their brand — sending a specific message to their audience  while allowing them to connect with the brand on a different level.

Examples of how artists and bands are using custom merchandise

Chance the Rapper

Coloring Book Album by Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper has won three Grammys, one of which was Best Rap Album for Coloring Book; the first streaming-only album to win a Grammy Award. People were surprised that music that good was free and available all at the click of a button.

After dropping his second mixtape, Chance the Rapper released a branded full fabric hat that fans could purchase. Not only is the hat a nod to the success of his recent album, but he also created a new opportunity for his fans to show their support.

Greensky Bluegrass 

Custom cut-and-sew pieces with unique decorations were designed specifically for Greensky Bluegrass’s 2018 fall tour.

Creative and trendy designs were utilized in order for Greensky Bluegrass to reach a millennial demographic. Playing off the locations of their tour stops, the Michigan-based bluegrass band partnered with us at Anthem Branding to create the custom designs.


Greensky Bluegrass Fall 18 Designs by Anthem Branding

Custom pieces from their branded merchandise collection have unique styles, colors, and designs that help them to reach their objective of appealing to a younger crowd.

Custom Greensky Bluegrass apparel by Anthem Branding-1

Branded merchandise creates more opportunity for artists to connect with their fans

Band apparel and merchandise are not new concepts. As we’ve said throughout this piece, they can organically foster an emotional connection with artists and their fans, and is often more impactful than a sponsored Instagram post or a large billboard.

With thoughtful and high-quality merchandise, bands can be everywhere with their fans — even connecting them with another fan on the subway or in a coffee shop.

Custom Paramore Alarm Clock by Anthem Branding

Partner with Anthem Branding to create your own unique branded merchandise

Clients like Greensky Bluegrass, The Motet, and Paramore  have partnered with Anthem Branding to create high-quality unique promotional products.

Contact us to discuss your custom headwear and custom merchandise ideas knowing that we manage product line inventory, logistics, and everything in between.

Create Branded Merch 

Topics: Apparel, Custom Merchandise, Promotional Products, Trends, Boulder, Custom Headwear, Company Merchandise, Branded Merchandise