Pop Up Shops – Who Benefits, The Fan Or Artist?

Purpose Tour Australian Pop Up Shop Dates

Pop-star or retailer, this is the blurred line musicians are starting to cross with the new-found pop-up shop phenomena.

With artists, such as The Weeknd and Drake opening pop up shops globally to promote tours and album releases, it has created a retail frenzy that fans cannot help resist.

Kanye and Rihanna were some of the first artists to cross the line from music to fashion designer very effectively. 

Kanye West’s  ‘Life of Pablo’ pop-up shops opened in Melbourne and Sydney last year during August 19 – 21. According to Kanye, he sold over $1 million worth of merchandise in two days at his New York pop-up store.  

Justin Bieber was quick to follow the trend in Melbourne and Sydney, with his own ‘Purpose Tour’ merchandise pop-up shops, a store solely dedicated to hoodies, tops and caps with the musician’s face and name plastered on the item.

Fans lined up for Justin Bieber pop up shop

From the 10th – 12th March over eager fans flooded the tiny alley that is Little Bourke Street in Melbourne. They waited in lines for over two hours to spend their money on a $130 jumper (the cheapest merch was a $50 top).

People came from near and far, I met a girl from Bendigo and three others all the way from Adelaide.  It wasn’t the distance people took to get here that amazed me, it was their dedication.

I spoke to two girls who had been waiting since 10am and only got into the store at 2pm. All they came out with was one item, a hoodie.

These girls waited 4 hours to get into the store

The peculiar thing was that they could have bought it online.

I asked a few girls why they decided to buy the merchandise from the store instead of online or at the actual concert later that night.

One girl said, “Because in the store I can touch the clothes and try them on to make sure they are my size.” However, we found out later down the line that we were not actually allowed to try on the clothes even though some tried with no luck as staff were on high alert.

Another mentioned that she didn’t purchase merch online because she didn’t want to wait or pay extra for shipping. This way she could get the item she wanted instantly and wear it to the concert that was on that night.

However, even with the purchase of merchandise at the pop up shop, people still bought more apparel at the concert merch stands as well.

Mitch Clarke, one of the Merchandise tellers for the Purpose Tour said “We completely sold out of all the t-shirts except for one design of them. Heaps of people came dressed in merch but it was apparently the busiest concert we’ve ever sold merch for.”

It is known that most musicians’ earn most of their income from endorsement deals, concerts and merchandise sales instead of music sales.

This is very evident in Justin Biebers case, he has only managed to add $18 million in music sales to his $245 million net worth over his 6 years in the industry.

Whereas he has earned a whopping $59,585,000 just from selling merchandise since 2009 – 2016, all before the end of his Purpose tour.

So, can Justin just call himself a retailer since that’s where most of his income is coming from?

All he needs now is a great endorsement deal and to start his own clothing line, then he’s on his way to New York Fashion Week.


1/265 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne (SneakerBoy)



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