Band diversification: musicians are finding some pretty weird ways to top up their income
With the music industry changed beyond all recognition, bands and record companies have looked to market diversification to keep the money coming in. Dale Shaw looks at some of the strangest products out there
Once upon a time the music industry was all hotel trashing, private jets and extravagant stage sets that cost more than the GDP of a small European nation. But now that making money off of records alone is pretty much impossible, bands are seeking alternative income streams to keep their lifestyles up. That means selling some pretty weird stuff.
1. Grateful Dead Christmas Lights
Why would fans of the planet’s premiere stoner rock band be interested in small twinkling lights? We couldn’t possibly imagine, but now you can deck out your creepy windowless van with some iconic Grateful Dead illumination and ensure that every day is Christmas day! And once you’re higher than the Shard’s observation deck, those slightly unnerving bears can become your best friends in the whole wide world and chat to you extensively. Good times.
2. Rammstein Sex Toys
If you spot a used set of these for sale at your local car boot, you might want to keep walking. To celebrate the release of Rammstein opus ‘Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da’ (which, I believe, roughly translates as ‘Cuddles Are Nice’) the boys released a deluxe edition that comes with a selection of insertable marital aids, handcuffs, lubricant and the CD itself, which can also be erotically manipulated, if you have enough imagination. The Wurzels had planned to release a similar promotional item on the same day, but had to withdraw it when they heard about the Rammstein sex box. They were livid.
3. My Chemical Romance Harlequin Mask
According to the blurb, it’s the replica of a mask used in a video from our favourite Emo exponents, rather than a piece of floppy fabric that will haunt your nightmares forever. It’s the ideal accessory if you desperately want the world to know about your love for MCR, or if you rigidly wish to hide the shame of your devotion.
4. Metallica Monopoly
So the hard rock juggernaut known as Metallica release a version of the family feud-initiating board game based on important moments in their history. Let’s speculate on what that may mean? For instance, what do they have rather than the Waterworks? The release of their 1982 demo ‘No Life ’Til Leather’? The Napster lawsuit? The collaboration with Lou Reed that everyone thought was rubbish? It’s just not the same.
5. Def Leppard Pillow
Want to display your allegiance to one of music’s hardest rocking and curliest haired outfits while still providing support for your lower lumbar region? Then do I have something special for you! Adorn all of your tastefully upholstered settees and/or ottomans with this Def Leppard throw cushion. Or you could just give the money to a worthy cause? No, sorry, what am I saying, buy the cushion. Obviously.
6. Kiss Mini Golf Course
It’s often quite easy to forget that Kiss were ever a musical entity and not some pound shop wholesaler. There isn’t a lump of plastic they won’t slap their logo onto and market without mercy. Kiss Ketchup, Kiss Coffins, Kiss Flash Drives, Kiss Pez and even Kiss Christmas Stockings all exist for some reason. And now there’s even Kiss Mini Golf, handily situated in the capital of good taste, Las Vegas. So if you have the overwhelming desire to roll a small white ball up Gene Simmons’ enormous tongue, you now have ample opportunity.
7. Cliff Richard Bingo Dabber
All the Cliffs, Cliffitty Cliff! Sorry, that makes no sense at all, we are just too overwhelmed by the unrelenting majesty of this accessory. Though little is known of Cliff’s personal dabbing, we are sure that he loves a game of bingo and we’re positive he uses this tasteful and, most importantly, reasonably priced item when eliminating his numbers and giving the evil eye to that old woman at the next table (let’s call her ‘Doris’) who always wins and is up to something with the caller if you ask me.
8. One Direction Folding Scooter
Just picture the admiring glances you’ll elicit when you pitch up to the One Direction concert on this stylish scooter, which you nonchalantly fold and toss towards the nearest bouncer for parking (who then proceeds to use it to thrash you within an inch of your life). Rumour has it that when Zayn left the band, he actually exited on one of these branded folding scooters, much to the chagrin of the rest of the band who knew they’d be spending the rest of the evening airbrushing his face from the remaining stock.
9. Keane Tea Towel
Have you ever heard of GG Allin? He was a punk rock performer who used to release all manner of bodily fluids onto the stage as part of his utterly disgusting show. Each performance resulted in the audience fleeing from his hate-filled approximation of music quickly followed by a police raid. He always vowed to kill himself on stage, but in fact died from a drug overdose, shortly after his final performance where he escaped from the venue naked and covered in his own poo and proceeded to rampage through the streets. In other news, here’s a Keane tea-towel.