return icon

Coronavirus: Rock bands start selling face mask merchandise

My Chemical Romance and Korn are among the acts offering a new piece of must-have merch.

As the global pandemic continues, bands have started offering a new piece of must-have merchandise alongside their T-shirts and hoodies - face masks.

Metal acts like Megadeth, Korn and Thursday have led the way, listing masks on their online stores.

My Chemical Romance are selling a stockpile of masks they designed before the pandemic for a show in the desert.

The proceeds will go to a fund for those in live music industry who have lost their jobs because of Covid-19.

"We had these masks made to keep you dust-free in the desert, a show that never happened, never will," the band said in a statement. 

Perhaps, they suggested, "we were unknowingly waiting for the right time" to send them to fans.

Megadeth's masks, which feature their mascot Vic Rattlehead, are being given away to anyone who places an order on their online shop, with a portion of proceeds going towards coronavirus relief.

A line of surgical masks emblazoned with the Korn logo have sold out on the band's official website - but they promise more stock is on its way.

In the US, where the Center Of Disease Control has recommended the use of face coverings to slow the spread of coronavirus, one manufacturer estimates that four to six billion masks will be produced and sold in the next 12 months.

The UK government's scientific advisers were due to meet on Tuesday to discuss whether the public should be urged to wear masks.

The music merchandise industry, which was worth $3.5bn (£2.8bn) last year, has been quick to respond to the demand.

The landscape has shifted dramatically since Latin pop star J Balvin was accused of cashing in on the coronavirus crisis when he tried to sell branded face masks on his online store last month.

He issued a swift apology, saying the promotion "didn't have my consent".

"This is not the way I act, even less in a moment like this," he added, as the gear was removed from his website.

So why aren't bands like Megadeth and Korn being called out in the same way?

"I think the tide has changed," says Christiaan Munro, founder and co-owner of live music company Sandbag, which has created merchandise for acts including The Chemical Brothers, Radiohead, Bastille and Blink-182.

"When coronavirus first happened, the face mask was seen as a very negative and scary image. Now, it's going to be something that you wear to the shops.

"It's become an essential rather than a gimmick, and it will become a fashion accessory. That will be the progression."

Munro says his company has been contacted by several artists interested in creating their own masks, and "the supply chain is being worked out right now".

In many cases, old T-shirts will be recycled to create the masks, meaning "each one will be unique".

"Weirdly enough, we were already making a lot of masks," Tony Holiday, president of the Toronto-based Kt8 Merchandise Company told Billboard magazine last week.

"A lot of our acts are EDM and in that scene, bandanas and face masks have been popular at festivals for years because of the dust factor. So with the recent demand in face masks, we were already set up to deliver."

Kt8 is donating some of its proceeds to local hospitals and charities, while other merchandise manufacturers are donating surplus stock to be turned into masks and head caps for hospitals.

Meanwhile, a number of major fashion brands have also been making protective equipment for medical professionals, with some designers bringing out ranges of masks for public sale.

Munro notes that masks were also popular among Asian music fans before the Covid-19 pandemic.

"If you see pictures of people in the cities like Tokyo and Beijing, they worry about Sars or pollution - so there are a lot of face masks being worn," he says.

"But they've also been selling face masks on market stalls in downtown LA, in the fashion district, for a long time. It's a utility item and then it flowed over into fashion."

That's why pop acts like Ariana Grande and Little Mix had masks on their merchandise stands before the coronavirus outbreak; while Billie Eilish wore a Gucci mask to Glastonbury and the Grammy Awards, and sells her own branded masks at Urban Outfitters.

It should be noted that masks made of fabric or cloth may only provide a small degree of protection and could even increase the risk of infection, according to the European Centre for Disease Control.

Munro says that's why UK acts have not so far been inclined to commission their own line of face coverings.

"But I think we'll follow the US, with bands promoting face masks as the general population decides to wear them, with or without instruction from government," he says.

And while most artists are using the merchandise to raise money for charity, Munro says some will be looking to "supplement the income they've lost through tours being cancelled".

Sales of T-shirts and hoodies have remained steady during the lockdown, he notes, which could be a lifeline for some smaller acts.

"Interestingly, when tours got cancelled, those artists that have put their tour merchandise [on sale] with the dates that never happened on the back, they've done really well," he says.

"It was surprising that people have been supporting the tours even though they didn't get to go to them." BBC


Vietnamese network operators now manufacturing cameras

Most cameras provided in the local market are foreign made.

Vietnam’s most modern library

Located at National Economics University, the most modern library in Vietnam covers around 10,000 square metres and is funded by the World Bank through the Support for Autonomous Higher Education Project.

China purchases more Vietnamese fruit for lunar new year holiday

Chinese demand for fruit for the lunar new year holiday accounts for up to 50 percent of Vietnam’s total fruit exports. Experts warn that the products may get stuck at border gates.

Press agencies need to become technological institutions: minister

Twenty years ago, editors-in-chief took pride in the fact that while printing machines were working, distributors were sitting eating bread and waiting for the first newspapers to be put out to deliver.


Vietnamese innovative startups should strive to become regional, international “unicorns”: PM

Seven more prosecuted in bribery case at foreign ministry

The investigation agency under the Ministry of Public Security has issued decisions to prosecute, arrest and search the residences and workplaces of seven more individuals for their involvement in a bribery case at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


President arrives in Seoul, beginning state visit to RoK

IFC plans to pour 320 million USD into three Vietnamese banks

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has proposed a total investment of 320 million USD in three Vietnamese banks, reported the Nikkei Asia.

Girl with brittle bone disease opens class for poor students

As she wasn't able to fulfil her dream of becoming a teacher due to congenital vitreous disease, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tam opened a free class for poor students.

Miniature-human sculptures popular with customers

The price of a sculpture ranges from one to five million VND, depending on the difficulty of the model. Eight to 19 ordered products are made per day to guarantee progress as well as the quality of the sculpture for the customer.

Lacquer village outlasts centuries-old craft

Alongside a wide range of products made from natural materials such as wood, bamboo and rattan, the village also has created new gold- and silver-inlaid products made from ceramic, pottery, and composite.

Local firms do business in P2P lending market

P2P Lending has become a hot issue in Vietnam, especially with the participation of Chinese businesses.

Vietnam to hold first cat fish festival soon

Vietnam’s first cat fish festival is scheduled to take place in the southern province of Dong Thap on December 16-17.

Control of bad content on social networks should be tightened

Tik Toker No O No, who criticized the poor, was boycotted by the community and forced to shut down by the authorities. He is not the first Tik Toker that has posted bad content on social networks.

Businesses struggle to keep workers as exports slow

Businesses have been struggling to maintain and support their workers as the Lunar New Year approaches.