Musicians turning to apparel pop ups to promote their tunes

Hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest hosted a merchandise pop-up shop in New York City this weekend in conjunction with the release of their upcoming album, the first the group has released in eighteen years. The pop up by a a big-name musical act appears to be a growing trend, following quite a few similar events recently.

A Tribe Called Quest Pop-Up - Courtesy The Snobette

At A Tribe Called Quest’s pop-up, merchandise sold included baseball caps, windbreakers, t-shirts, and hoodies. Earlier this month, R&B artist The Weeknd launched a similar pop-up shop in several cities across the country to promote his new album & tour.

Kanye West was the first to tap into this trend, abandoning traditional outlets for selling merchandise in favor of a curated pop-up experience. Earlier this year, West launched pop-up stores in 21 different countries, including Toronto, Melbourne, Sydney, Berlin, London, Singapore, and Amsterdam, each for a weekend at a time. This proved to be incredibly successful — the majority of merchandise sold out and fans waited over 20 hours outside the store for the chance to purchase West merchandise. According to West, the Manhattan location of the shop earned over $1 million sales in the three-day run.

Justin Bieber also hosted pop-up shops around the world, timing to open right before his world tour dates to appeal to fans that could not get or could not afford his high-priced, sold-out concert tickets. Bieber moved 60% of merchandise within the first two days and has since signed contracts to continue his clothing line, which will now be stocked in Selfridges, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Pacsun. 

The pop-up shop model has proven to be a successful way for artists to promote an upcoming tour or album, as well as to move merchandise. By selling gear outside of the venue, artists also reduce the percentage of profits they typically have to pay venues (around 30-40% of the sales). Musician pop-ups not only extend the reach of the artist's brand through social media buzz, they also simply expand the number of consumers walking around, wearing merchandise emblazoned with the artist's name.

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