Even though CD sales have been in the toilet for the past half-decade or so, most bands never really make a considerable living off of them, since much of the profit on album sales is used to pay back the record label, which fronts promotional costs for publicity, radio and touring, like a loan. That, for all you aspiring music business folks out there, is called "recoupable." Merchandise is where bands are able to make a killing, and that includes everything from the standard t-shirt to belt buckles, messenger bags, beanies and totes. So what items are most profitable for bands? Which cost the least to make and bring in the most profit?

Fans are happy to shell out cash for merch bearing their favorite band's name or logo, since they often get the music for free, and Jakprints (courtesy of Digital Music News) has broken down the numbers and compiled data. Comparing the average cost to produce an item with expected retail price, Jakprints came up with the 20 most profitable items for bands. If you're a musician, you'd be well served to pour over this data and see what items you should  sell at your merch table or license to the music retailers of the world.

Not surprisingly, stickers and patches (like the ones pictured above) are some of the most profitable items a band can produce. They costs mere pennies to make and can be sold for a few dollars. That's a huge profit margin, not to mention a renewable promotion source, since the band name will be posted and exposed for others to see.

Popular apparel items like hoodies can also be quite profitable, if that's what your fans/audience wants to wear. If the supply meets demand, you're golden. Hoodies cost around $12 to manufacture, and you can turn around and sell them for $35. So if those sell like hotcakes, you can rake in a nice chunk of cash, as well as have your band promoted on the bodies of fans. The same can be said for classic one-color t-shirts. Those cost just under $4 to make and can be sold for upwards of $12.