Master your merchandise.

Single Music powers the data behind some of the largest artist shops in the world. But we also noticed a problem - most successful artists had tools that indies simply did not. This is why we decided to make our app publicly available.

Because of this, we’ve seen album releases across the spectrum: major-label, independent, successful and the “flop”. The point is we are in a unique position to observe and recognize patterns in merchandise that sells.

And given that your digital album can be included with every piece of merchandise in your shop (if you follow these rules), increased merch sales correlate directly with Billboard chart position. Today we’ll share 5 of the most successful merch offerings we’ve seen.

Parachute Lyric Book

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Lyric books are a hit with die-hard fans, including those of the band Parachute. During their self-titled album release earlier this year, they included a lyric book with every bundle sold.

It is no surprise that this specific offering worked so well for this band. Their music is lyric driven, with soft but powerful vocals. They chose a product that complemented their style and narrative as a band.

What’s great is that integrating lyrics into merch can work at basically any level. Yes, Parachute is a very successful band with 2.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify. But even if you don’t have the capital to print a full leather-bound book, anyone can turn lyrics into a poster or even hand-write them. Tying merchandise directly with the content of your music amplifies your message and brand.

Lil Pump - Esskeetit Chain

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Earlier this year, Lil Pump released his album “Harverd Dropout”. Contrasting sharply with the offering above, he sold chains bundled together with his digital album. In his case, he knew his core fans would appreciate something they could wear around town.

A week after his release date, Lil Pump used Instagram to tell his fans that this chain was now free. But… that’s breaking the rules you linked above! Nielsen states that the album in the bundle has to cost the consumer an additional $3.49 on top of the price of the merch. But because they charged a flat $15 to ship the chains, they met all requirements for the sale and delivered a charting digital album to each fan. And his strategy worked; he landed a #7 charting on the Billboard 200.

Aaron Lewis - Playing Cards & Flask

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One of our favorite examples of album-branded merch this year was from country artist Aaron Lewis. During the release of his new album, “State I’m In”, he sold flasks and playing cards. This was genius for a few reasons. First, he provided his target demographic with merch that they could actually use. The items were practical and unlikely to be tossed in a drawer and forgotten about.

And because the items were relatively low cost, they added a ton of perceived value when bundled together with his digital album. We reviewed his entire campaign extensively in our past blog post, so be sure to check that out if you’re interested in learning more.

Making Movies Test Pressing

Another great merch example is from an up and coming genre-smashing band, Making Movies. They ran a pre-sale for their latest album, complete with signed merch and intangible experiences like “Making Movies will produce your next song”.

The reason they’re on our list today is the test pressing vinyl offering. This is an example of an extremely limited product, numbered to just 5. But even if you aren’t pressing vinyl for your new album, you can learn from this strategy. Introduce scarcity. If your fans see the product as authentic & coming directly from you, it will surely drive demand and boost sales.

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The Rocket Summer Polaroid Pack

The last offering we’ll discuss today is from The Rocket Summer, and also very limited in nature. They are offering a set of signed Polaroid pictures from the making of the album.

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The concept of bringing fans into the creation portion of an album was made popular by the now defunct PledgeMusic. While they failed in an irresponsible and damaging fashion, the company proved that fans wanted more than to just buy the album on release day. They wanted a glimpse inside the minds of those who created the music they love and appreciate.

Have some great merch ideas that we didn’t talk about today? Need help creating a plan for your pre-sale? Talk to the Single Team!