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EXPLAINER: The whatnots of ‘merch’ in fan culture

EXPLAINER: The whatnots of ‘merch’ in fan culture

WHAT-IS-MERCH-IN-FAN-CULTURE

Merchandise or “merch” in the context of the idol industry refers to the various goods sold by the artists among fans. It spans different products, including apparel, stationeries, or everything and anything collectible.

While K-Pop groups are best known for merchandise, one may say that it is innate to the entertainment field. In the Philippines, the remarkable rise of P-Pop that took inspiration from its neighboring waves naturally adopted the practice.

Usually, artists release their merchandise in the promotion of brand-new music. Although, when talking in business, it’s just a way to gain profit. Whichever you prefer to view it, merchandises have a different meaning for fans. More than expenses, it is a physical symbol of their commitment to dedication and the closest they can express their invaluable support.

As explained, merch ranges in a variety― they could be unique or not, depending on who releases it, or for whom and what purpose. There really is no limit! 

Here are the standard merchandises you can encounter being a stan of an idol or a group:

Album

Albums can be in the form of audio tape, compact disc (CD), vinyl, or any other medium possible. Sold as-is or as part of a set, it is often the focal product of merchandise. Companies throughout the time have come up with different ways to present albums exceptionally and creatively.

Photo from: Yumnana on Pinterest

Banner

Due to its practical use, a banner or a cheering slogan is every fan’s basic need. They can be made of paper or cloth, but they serve the same purpose: to wave one’s support! Along with the light stick, the banner is an essential thing to bring when attending live events.

Photo from: joom.com

Light Stick

A must-have merch in a fan culture! They are hand-carried, upgraded electronic glow sticks that are best used when showing up in concerts. Through light sticks, fandoms identify themselves as it is generally imbued with the group’s name, logo, and official color.

Photo from: imgur.com

Photobook

A photobook is comparable to a magazine, except that it contains photographs. Its selling point? It features never-before-seen images of idol members in an underlying theme. Photos signify memories, so fans treasure this merch as a keepsake.

Photo from: AliExpress

Photocards

Like its name, photocards (PCs) are cards printed with an artist’s picture on them. They are the most coveted collectible, typically because it comes in limited edition. When signed by idols or an exclusive image is used, they are tagged as “rare” and are sold for higher prices.

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Photo from: @end3start on Pinterest

Pins or Badges

Button pins and badges are almost similar to photo cards. They contain photographs or logos printed on pins made of different materials. Ideally, pins can be used or brought anywhere rather than just displayed, which is why this merchandise serves a particular function.

Photo from: SM Global Shop

Stationeries

Merch is all about buying something to collect. Hence, stationeries are given! Prime examples of it could be notebooks, stickers, or calendars. Meanwhile, bookmarks, key rings, key chains, and bag tags may as well be considered in the related criteria.

Photo from: etsy.com

Wearables

Some merchandise is not just for the exhibit; you can also wear them. Shirts, hoodies, and caps are standard, but something like a pair of socks or a face mask is now being sold too. The design has no boundaries, as long as it looks appealing to its consumers.

Photo from: HYBE MERCH on Twitter

Of course, these are not all you will chance on your fan journey. The rest is up to you to explore. What merch do you look forward to having?

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