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The Weird and Wonderful World of Merchandise...

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The Weird and Wonderful World of Merchandise...

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Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

 

And the scarf.

 

And the novelty giant foam hand.

 

Selling merchandise is becoming an evermore crucial component to the success of an touring artist. Ensuring that you have quality products to sell is one thing, but being innovate (and creating a USP) is another.

 

Hearing the recent news that Phoenix, the Parisian disco-rock outfit, have come up with a unique way to distribute their new merchandise, got me thinking about unique ways to sell your brand as a musician (whether through the actual products, or simply through the presentation or delivery of said products).

 

They’ve developed their own brand of vending machine, which distributes cassette versions of their records (and much more), and taking it on tour with them, to sit in the venue’s foyers on the night. Cool, huh?

 

Without sounding too much like a PR or Marketing boffin, this expands boundaries surrounding the consumer/seller, by finding new and fresh ways to connect with your fanbase indirectly. It's all about creating a USP that mirrors your identity and goes with your brand.

 

So here’s the question… what’s the strangest, most unique item you’ve seen for sale at a merchandise stand? Or the weirdest way that you’ve seen merch displayed in a space?

 

OTHER EXAMPLES

 

Radiohead’s broadsheet newspaper, which went into print in 2011 to support their album 'The King of Limbs'. It was a limited edition, and was handed out personally by Thom Yorke outside Rough Trade Records in East London as a promotional stunt.

 

Preoccupations’ Raffle Box where you could submit a new band name. I saw the band at ATP festival back in 2015, and they had a box with blank raffle tickets and pens, to offer an alternative name, following controversy surrounding their original bandname.

 

So, add your quirkiest, strangest, funniest examples of items surrounding this topic! My housemates' need ideas for our new kitchen, so if someone can link me to a Katy Perry-branded toaster or a chopping board in the shape of Jeff Tweedy's hat, I'll be super happy.

12 Replies

Re: The Weird and Wonderful World of Merchandise...

Community Legend
Wonderful thread idea!

That vending machine of Pheonix's is insane - so cool 😆

Sampa the Great threw out hand-knit swathes of multi-pattern fabric into the crowd, I thought that was a beautiful way of brightening the mosh.

Re: The Weird and Wonderful World of Merchandise...

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Thanks, @crematedman!

 

Anything that's hand-knit it going to go down well with me; that's some serious effort put in, right there. Seems like a shame to throw it into a crowd of people for it to be stamped on and muddied!

 

Have you ever bought anything odd at a gig? I once spent £1 on a little goody bag which contained a badge and a 3D business card that a band had hand-made. Can't remember the band or the venue, but I still pick it out of my drawer now and again and remember that gig.

Re: The Weird and Wonderful World of Merchandise...

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Great chat topic @Jack--I was actually handed the King of Limbs newspaper by Thom Yorke that day at Rough Trade East! I guess techincally that was one of the strangest merch experiences I've ever had. 

 

My sister got some Toro y Moi fridge magnets in the shape of South Carolina (our home state) years and years ago. They're small and subtle but it's an everyday reminder of the gig--and they're very useful. 

 

 

 

 

Re: The Weird and Wonderful World of Merchandise...

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Spotify

Hey @meahtenoha

 

Thanks, glad you think so. I'm also really happy for you (and totally NOT jealous) of you getting to see Thom and pick a paper from him... not jealous at all.

 

Love the fridge magnet idea! Practical and beautiful. Talking of the Toro, you heard the new tune recently?...

 

spotify:track:2TnKnQPd5wZcLvuRrE2VgE:small

 

Again, TOTALLY not jealous.

Re: The Weird and Wonderful World of Merchandise...

Casual Listener

I don't remember what bad it was, but a few years ago I was looking around online for some new clothes and I happend to stumble upon a bathing suit or a bra an underwear set (I don't know I didn't look into it, I just snapchatted it to my friends honestly) that had the logo over the middle of each triangle on the top and on the bottom front part of the bottoms. I don't understand why companies go so far but hey, I guess if someone buys it, they can't be too disappointed.

MusicGeek215 3

Re: The Weird and Wonderful World of Merchandise...

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Hey @musicgeek215,

Wow, that's a bold piece of merchandise... I was discussing this with a colleague and he told me owns a pair of underpants with a huge logo of The Darkness on the back side.

 

I'll save him the embarassment by mentioning him here, but he's said he definitely never wears them out!

Re: The Weird and Wonderful World of Merchandise...

Gig Goer

When I like a band, I always buy the shirt. When I go to a concert I always buy the shirt with all the tour dates on the back. I've been doing this for years. I've noticed that all the merch has ended up in the trash, except for the shirts, which I still wear after all these years. 

 

https://open.spotify.com/track/6HPYyu3Muybz7oDuPyHnEC

Re: The Weird and Wonderful World of Merchandise...

Newbie
Hahahaha

Re: The Weird and Wonderful World of Merchandise...

Community Legend

kasket.jpg

KISS' Gene Simmons is the master at this, of course, with perhaps no piece of merch stranger than the KISS coffin.

I once bought a Bad Company bathrobe from the mid-'70s at a memorabilia auction, though I think that was promotional swag rather than merch they had sold.

One of my favorite things I ever saw a band do (and I can't for the life of me remember which band it was) was to have their fans at one show design their 7" picture sleeves for the next show. They had blank white cardboard 45 sleeves at each show, and they'd have the audience draw on them, color them, write notes on them, and they'd sell them at the next show. It bonded the fans, and each person got a one-of-a-kind piece of merch.

City Winery will do private-label wines for acts that play there. Those are pretty cool. And Marky Ramone used to sell tomato sauce. Not sure if that's still on the market.

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