The record shop is dying out, digital sales surpass physical but there is still a strong need for the designers to carefully craft a cohesive look and feel for a band across multiple media formats.

These days, a band just isn’t doing themselves justice if they haven’t gotten themselves onto iTunes and other social media channels to hook up their audience with all the latest touring and release info about themselves.

So, as a designer, where do you come into this? Album and poster art, promotional flyers, a website for them with streaming music and video samples along with branding their facebook, twitter and myspace to name a few. These are the easy steps but you can also suggest Reverb.nation or one of the other one off fee services that upload the music to iTunes. This means bands without a distribution contract can compete with bigger bands and hopefully earn a living from their music.

After building the info channels and making sure the music is easy to get, what is left? Well now comes the fun part! Tshirt designs, stickers, desktop and phone wallpapers and screensavers, limited edition or restricted edition gear for members of the fanclub.

Automating the process by using an online print on demand service like zazzle or cafepress means there is no need to keep huge amounts of stock sitting around waiting for someone to buy it. Tour merchandise can be printed up locally and taken to each gig, but the bulk of the merchandise can be created via an ‘on demand’ model. Meaning there is no initial outlay of funds by the band to have the merchandise printed up, and then having to wait until an item is sold to make their production cost and minor profit back on each item. The other part is managing the process, an online solution means the merchandising is done for them and all mark up profits are paid to them.

Of course you can look at unique products to help the band stand out in the market a bit more, that may be a bandana, keyring, action figures of the band, plush toy characters of the band or temporary tattoos of the bands logo.

The band being able to focus on their music means better songs which in turn will drive more people to buy merchandise.

There are countless products that are made on demand, so finding a couple of good options for a band is easy and will help give you upsell options for the band. Take a look for yourself next time you are doing a poster / cd cover for a band and see what other items you can suggest to them. Not many bands are going to say no to the idea of earning more money from products or revenue streams they had not thought of (or even knew of).