The music industry is suffering. Tours are being cancelled, live shows are on hold and music-related businesses are hanging on for dear life. In the midst all of this, many bands are turning lemons into lemonade by making coronavirus merch available for their fans. Masks and bandanas specifically, are in high demand.
Image Credit: 95.5 The Rat
Now that the CDC has called for people to wear masks while patronizing businesses, musicians are partnering with merchandising companies to make masks and bandanas branded with their band names. Tony Holiday, president of Kt8 merchandise company had this to say.
"A lot of our acts are EDM and in that scene, bandanas and face masks have been popular at festivals for years because of the dust factor. So with the recent demand in face masks, we were already set up to deliver."
Holiday further notes that 30 – 40% of his clients are asking for face masks to be made and the company has been selling around 500 a week; far more than usual. Kt8 has been donating proceeds to hospitals and charities supporting frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19.
And it’s not only bands that have been capitalizing on the face mask craze. The guitar accessory manufacturer Ernie Ball has come out with its own line of custom masks. Apparel manufacturer Custom Ink has been adding them to the Health and Wellness section of their web site. They are also providing masks for businesses and personalized masks for individuals.
Other companies, like Red Star merchandise has been donating some of its t-shirts to a local seamstress who then repurposes them to be used as head caps and face masks for hospitals.
Bands and merchandising companies who are making money off coronavirus merch have definitely found a silver lining is all this. But many respect that fact that this is a serious situation and not necessarily a money making opportunity.
While some are advertising their merch loud and proud, others are choosing a more low-key route. These bands are taking the approach of letting fans know they have the merch available while trying not to make it seem as if they are cashing in on a worldwide tragedy.
"Some people might feel like it’s weird to make money off of this," Holiday says. "But at the end of the day, people want to not walk around feeling contaminated. If wearing masks becomes a regular part of daily life, having it associated with something you enjoy might make it more appealing."
In addition to face masks, other merch is popping up that works the coronavirus angle. T-shirts sporting lyrics from The Police hit song Don’t Stand So Close to Me are becoming quite popular.
As for us, we are glad that bands have found a way to make up for some of the income they are losing on live shows; but we’re really looking forward to a time when masks won’t need to be worn at all. Keep rockin’ and stay safe!