Reading: Music Tour Merchandise Needs to Be Taken Seriously

Music Tour Merchandise Needs to Be Taken Seriously

Coveting concert tickets, and forking over large sums of money to see your favourite artists is something we’re all accustomed to. Eagerly waiting, willing to line up long queues and spending more than your ticket for concert memorabilia is something of a new cultural phenomenon. Since the beginning of spring/summer, when some of the most followed artists begin their world tours, concert merchandise has eclipsed even the spectacle of the concert. Whether it’s Drake’s summer sixteen tour, Beyonce’s Formation Tour, The Biebs Purpose Tour, and  Rihanna’s Anti-world tour, the tour merchandise has become just as important as the performances.

These are not  the conventional concert t-shirts that you usually took a pass on.

These concert t-shirts, hoodies, and dad hat’s feature intricate attention to detail. Designs that have the look, feel, and synergy of an actual collection. So how did concert merchandise become so coveted that we were willing to pay double, or even sometimes triple the price for screen-printed, average quality t-shirt? Love him or hate him but you can thank Kanye for inciting your lust for tour merch. Kanye’s 2013 Yeezus tour merch completely flipped tour merch on it’s head by printing t-shirts that were heavily inspired by old-school heavy metal bands. Slowly but surely other big name artists followed suit. Now, when your favourite artist announces a world tour the merchandise is a major talking point.  

Artists not only discovered that selling millions of t-shirts was additional revenue for their tour but making a dope, highly-covetable t-shirt gave the artist another avenue for branding and marketing. Whether it was Drake, Kanye, Rihanna, or Beyonce, these artists gave credence to their own merchandise by actually wearing it themselves. From the moment they were captured in their own merch that particular t-shirt, hoodie, or bomber jacket transitioned from being just a tour shirt to something more. It was a now a shirt that was injected with the ultimate co-sign; authenticity. These shirts are good enough to be worn by the artists themselves, so they are easily good enough for you.  Whether you attended the actual concert or not, fans began to incorporate these fancy concert t-shirts into their everyday wardrobes. For fan’s of the merch, it’s the ultimate badge of honour. A t-shirt that can express your musical taste, where you went, and that you are up to date on the latest fashion trends without saying a word.

If you have not been keeping score here is a list of some of the most popular music tour merch to come out in 2016.

Rihanna Anti Tour

Rihanna is no newcomer to the world of fashion. Bad girl Riri’s never been shy to collaborate, most notably her sneaker and apparel partnership with Puma. Rihanna’s Anti Tour merch meets the new standard of music tour merchandise. Graphic t-shirts and hoodies that feature bold graphics of Rihanna herself and eye-catching typography.

rihanna-anti-tour-merchandise

Beyonce Formation Tour

The queen of pop takes her Formation tour merchandise to the next level. You do have the standard graphic t-shirt pieces, but the ones that caught the most attention were the ones with the “Boycott Beyonce” slogan. A cheeky eff you to the people who called to Boycott the pop star after her politically inspired album and super bowl performance. It also does not hurt when your husband is a rap mogul and wears your tour merch as well.

beyonce-formation-tour-merch
Image from UpscaleHype

Justin Bieber Purpose Tour  

The Bieb’s purpose tour merch was coveted for many menswear enthusiasts. With the help of Fear of God’s Jerry Lorenzo. Lorenzo’s own line is highly sought after but on the very expensive side. Since the purpose tour merch was laced with Lorenzo’s signature aesthetic, it became a hit to many men that were not a fan of the Biebs, but swooned for it because it all Lorenzo’s fingerprints all over the designs.

A photo posted by jerrylorenzo (@jerrylorenzo) on


Drake Summer Sixteen Tour

Drake’s Summer Sixteen tour merch is most likely the most fashion forward out of the bunch. Taking his most notable catchy phrases from his 2016 hits and putting them on t-shirts with the same typography as the “it” brand in high fashion at the moment, Vetements.

Drake-OVO-Tour-Merchandise-Sweater
Image from UpscaleHype

Kanye West Saint Pablo Tour

When the Saint Pablo tour was announced this summer the merchandise was easily as anticipated as the the opportunity to see West perform live. Details at the moment are sparse. But when the artist who originally transformed tour merch is back on tour, for the first time in three years, you can expect to arrive early if you’re going to the concert, or be willing to be double or triple the price online.

kanye-west-the-life-of-pablo-paris-store-14
Image from Hypebeast