Artist merchandise has become an integral part of the modern music industry. Beyond being merely printed tshirts, hoodies or accessories, for some fans, these products hold a special significance, representing a tangible connection to the music and the artist themselves.
However, attitudes towards musicians’ merchandise are diverse and complex, ranging from avid collectors who seek to own every piece of memorabilia to casual supporters who choose to wear these garments as a means of self-expression.
We surveyed the UK to find out just what fans really think about merchandise to reveal how design and unwavering loyalty can influence sales.
For some, design doesn’t mean a thing as 35% of Brits would consider buying their favourite artist’s merch even if they didn’t like the way it looked. For younger people especially, wearing an artist’s merchandise goes beyond personal design tastes. But what inspires fans to proudly wear their favourite artists’ merch, even if they don’t love the design itself?
Music has the ability to evoke strong emotions and create personal connections. Therefore many fans wear merchandise as a way to express their deep connection to the artist and their music. Regardless of the design, it becomes a symbol of their loyalty and devotion.
Identity and belonging
Wearing an artist’s merchandise allows fans to identify themselves as part of a particular music culture or fandom, fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie. As a result, it can provide a sense of belonging to a community of fans who share similar interests.
Merch can serve as a tangible reminder of a live performance and the memories associated with them. Even if the design is not to their liking, it still holds sentimental value.
Supporting the artist
By wearing an artist’s merchandise, fans directly support their favourite musicians financially. They understand that merchandise sales contribute to the artist’s success to therefore help them continue creating music.
For some fans, wearing an artist’s merchandise is a conversation starter allowing them to connect with fellow music enthusiasts. In such cases, the design might not be the primary focus, as the merch serves as a means to engage with others who share their passion.
Sometimes, fans might purchase merchandise simply because it is limited edition. The exclusivity of the item outweighs personal design preferences, making it highly desirable to collectors or dedicated fans who want to own a unique piece of memorabilia.
While it is not a universal opinion, some people (millennials especially) feel like they can’t attend an artist’s concert without buying merchandise first. This is likely for the reasons listed above, but can also be related to fan culture.
In some fan communities, there can be unwritten expectations or perceived norms that attending a concert includes wearing the artist’s merchandise. These norms can develop through online fan communities, social media, or fan interactions, where fans showcase their dedication and support by wearing merch to concerts.
This creates a further sense of unity and identification among fans allowing them to visually showcase their support and connect with others who share the same passion for the artist.
Not only does merch allow existing fans to support artists, but great merchandise can serve as the force behind driving new listeners to engage with the music, in fact, 63% of Gen-Zers would consider listening to a new artist just because they like their merchandise. So how does great merch drive new fans?
Visual appeal and brand representation
Well-designed merchandise has the power to capture a whole new market of potential fans. With merch serving as a visual representation of an artist’s brand and music, eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing designs will capture attention, sparking curiosity about the artist’s overall style and vision.
Fashion and style influence
Musicians and bands often have a significant impact on fashion and style trends. Engaging merchandise that aligns with current fashion aesthetics can attract individuals who are drawn to trending or fashionable items. Therefore they may be inspired to explore the artist’s music as an extension of their overall artistic expression.
Emotional connection and storytelling
Merchandise can communicate a deeper narrative or story related to the artist’s music. It can evoke emotions, spark curiosity, or tell a visual story that resonates with potential listeners. When people connect with the emotions or messages conveyed through merchandise, they may be more inclined to explore the music behind it.
Great merchandise serves as a powerful tool for brand representation, fan engagement, and revenue generation. Well-designed and appealing merchandise enhances an artist’s visual identity, creates a sense of community among fans, and fosters a connection between the artist and their audience. Not only does it promote the artist’s image but it also provides a tangible way for fans to express their support, while also serving as a significant revenue stream for the artist’s overall business and career sustainability therefore it is important to get right.
63% of Gen-Zers would consider listening to a new artist just because they like their merchandise!
Want to discuss creating your own personalised merchandise? Click here for an instant quote or contact our team for a more in-depth review into how we can take you from design to delivery in less than 14 days!