The Grateful Dead T Shirt –Promoting Music Brands with Merchandise

Merch is the urban lingo for merchandise that is used to promote a brand. In recent times, many music labels have come to understand the importance of cutting deals with fashion houses or clothing lines to make branded clothing items for their artistes or brand.

A study in 2016 proved that merch was a great source of revenue for several artistes in addition to their recorded music and concerts. In this article, we will look at ways in which merchandise can be used to promote music brands and even by extension any kind of brand.  Meanwhile, you can check out this article for more on the 2016 study. 

The Evolution of Music Merchandise

As study has revealed, merch is now a vital piece when evaluating the success of an artiste’s album and their tours. Many artiste managers and marketers have found out that putting out branded clothing items helps to promote the works of their clients. 

These merchandises started out as band tees where teenage fan club members scribbled the names of their favourite artistes on their tee shirts and wore them proudly. These tee shirts were also proudly won as membership badges and uniform for concerts of these their favourite musicians. 

The earliest of these unofficial merch were the ones designed by an Elvis fan club for his concert in the early 1950s.  When promoters, managers and marketers saw the wide popularity and acceptance of these merch, they decided to make it official.  This gave birth to official merchandise for different artiste and their diehard fans where proud to buy and wear. 

60 years down the line, these promoters have found ways of teaming up with style icons to make their merchandise fashion statement. Additionally, they make these merchandises limited and as such create an air of exclusivity around it which in turn brings in higher revenue for the artiste and their label or promoters. 

Importance and Benefits of Music Merchandise 

Music and fashion have often gone hand in hand and merch is actually a very important compliment to music. Especially in recent times with the decline in physical CDs and increase in downloads, these items become the only physical connection that fans have with their favourite artistes. It is a physical expression of the style and message of the artiste which fans can hold onto.  Take for example merchandise such as The Grateful Dead t shirt helps the wearer feel a connection to the band even if they cannot get to meet them physically. 

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Having noted how important having a physical item that connects fans to an artiste, let’s look at some of the benefits:- 

Increased income

Artistes can earn additional income by selling merch at their concerts. This revenue comes in handy especially as most musicians may not be able to earn commensurate sums of money directly from their albums or concerts. Furthermore, these merchandises can also be sold even after the concerts. 

EnhancedBrand Recognition

Branded clothing items can help raise the popularity of an artiste or brand and increase people’s awareness of the brand/music. Artiste who have interesting and unique branded items are more likely to attract fans and also keep the brand always in the face of the public. 

So even after a concert is over or even without a concert these merch will help keep artiste on the mind of the fans. 

Improves Fan Engagement 

Note that music merch was inadvertently created by fans.  Therefore selling properly designed merchandise can help improve engagement between an artiste and their fans.  Introducing a sense of exclusivity through unique items can also create a fan base that engages with the artiste and their brand in novel ways. 

Creating Sustainability for the Artiste’s Career

The music industry keeps evolving on a daily basis and this makes it quite competitive. Music merchandise is an innovative way that a musician can have greater control and provide sustainability for their career.  Bear in mind that these merch is also about the style and creativity of an artiste. 

Wide Variety of Option

Music label and musicians have options of a wide variety of merchandise to put out there all thanks to technology. Upcoming artistes can produce highly affordable merchandise in small quantities while established brands and big name artistes can go for high end products. 

The good thing is that with technology, both the fans of the A list artistes and the fans of the upcoming ones can enjoy a sense of community with different types of merchandise. Visit this site for tips on how to build a sense of community amongst people:


From studies and practical examples, it has been established that merchandise is a very viable way of promoting a brand or type of music. We have discussed the evolution of this trend and also the benefits that can be gotten from getting on this bandwagon. If you are an upcoming artiste or music label that hasn’t jumped onto this trend, now is a good time to start. You cannot also say you are a diehard fan of any musician/band if you do not have at least one of their merch in your wardrobe.