Kanye West Sold $7M in Merchandise During 'Donda' Listening Party, Drops Presidential Album Merch
After a few delays, Kanye West finally dropped his new album, “Donda.” For someone like Kanye, whose marketability is through the roof and whose approach is multi-faceted with every creative endeavor he pursues, it’s no surprise that there’s a big merchandising push as part of the album release.
His first line of “Donda” merchandise was designed with high-profile designer Balenciaga, and touches on his previous merchandising push: Kanye's sort-of-serious 2020 presidential bid.
One shirt includes the presidential seal, and another design includes “2024,” so while it doesn’t explicitly say it’s campaign merchandise, it’s also not not campaign merchandise.
It’s also not a huge surprise that Kanye’s scores of devoted fans immediately jumped at the opportunity to buy his newest line. During one of the pre-release listening parties at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Kanye raked in $7 million in merchandise sales from the 40,000 people in attendance, according to Input.
T-shirts reportedly cost $100 at the merch table in Atlanta, but that’s still an impressive figure. Part of the appeal of that merchandise in particular is that it had “Donda 8/5/2021 Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta,” making it specific to the show and, therefore, a collector’s item even more rare than his general merchandise drop. It’s also an ad for Mercedes, since it has the car company’s logo on it, too.
— corey (@dieBrutalist) July 22, 2021
That normal line of “Donda” merchandise, designed by Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia, also includes the option to bundle in a download of the album for an additional $10, proving that even Kanye West—one of the biggest names in music on the planet—is not above using the draw of merchandise to push album sales.
The long-sleeve T-shirts cost $200, an adjustable hat costs $60, and a ski mask-style mask costs $160 (and doesn’t seem to include any prominent branding at all).
Not Kanye selling a mask for $160 😭 pic.twitter.com/5Rm9SPazmA
— kevin aka Santa Clo 🎅🏾 (@KevinDLC50) August 31, 2021
Kanye’s merch sales figures also show that people want to commemorate the shows they go to beyond just a generic item for the act they paid to see. Yes, this was a very exclusive event by one of the biggest stars in the world, but the show-specific merchandise sells—especially since people are so excited to be able to attend concerts in real life once again.