Stars’ own goal on overpriced merchandise - Kevin Buckle
While Harry’s fans were excited by the wide selection of One Direction merchandise starting at a mere £2 we had on offer, there was one very clear theme from fans of “The Boss” and that was that his T-shirts were not worth the £40 being charged at the gig.
We hadn’t stocked up on T-shirts for the big day, as normally for concerts like this, fans are saving all their money to buy a shirt at the gig itself, so we quickly ran out of the three designs that we normally stock as fans came in to buy a souvenir of their trip to Edinburgh on the Wednesday at a more reasonable £20.
While people were very keen to say how good the concert had been, even those who regularly attend events like this felt they were being milked for every penny on the merchandise.
For the Harry Styles concerts Murrayfield actually opened a day early just to sell his merchandise and it would be no exaggeration to say that over the four days I saw hundreds of fans in his shirts and hoodies matching the number wearing feather boas and pink cowboy hats.
Customers complaining about the price of T-shirts, hoodies, beanies etc on artists’ websites is almost a daily occurrence. It is common to see official band shirts from their website at £30 or even £35 while not making the same merchandise available in shops for the very obvious reason that prices are far lower.
One band was selling their hoodies for £65 at their gigs while we were selling the same hoodie bought from their record company for £35 and there have been several instances of beanies being £40 online while all our caps and beanies are £15.
What in particular these bigger artists don’t understand is the massive loss of revenue they suffer because of this attitude. There are many fans well aware of what is available online but will never get round to ordering something and even more people who have not thought of buying a band T-shirt but would do so if they saw one in a shop. The irony is that the bigger and financially successful an artist is, the more they can charge fans while smaller acts who need the money more get left behind.
It is easy to see how things have changed, in that while we have mountains of old One Direction merchandise from T-shirts and bags to earrings, notepads and bracelets, there is nothing for Harry Styles available from any of our suppliers.
Occasionally bands see the light and just before Christmas a couple of years ago both Radiohead and Gorillaz made their T-shirts available to shops and I can guarantee they sold many thousands more shirts than if they had stuck to just being available from a website.
Thankfully, while disappointed we had sold out of Springsteen shirts, many fans found other things to buy instead and went away very happy with their finds.