The meteoric rise of English singing sensation Susan Boyle is one for the books. Her album, I Dreamed a Dream, became the fastest-selling debut in UK chart history and sold some 701,000 copies during its first-week sales in the US. Eager to bedeck themselves with Susan-alia, fans have been clamoring for branded merchandise that, for some reason, her management never thought to produce. There simply aren’t any “official” products, which has resulted in a brisk trade of unauthorized gear. How much are they making? In The Sunday Times, British music impresario Jonathan Shalit estimated the market for Boyle-themed merchandising is worth about £5 million a year.
In this day and age of dramatically reduced CD sales, how did Boyle’s management miss the sweetest plum of all? Merchandising is a vital revenue stream for musicians, and Boyle’s inspirational story is the kind of thing that the vulgar herd wants to buy into. It doesn’t stop with t-shirts either. According to The Times:
Online retailers are offering Subo-themed merchandise including boxer shorts, figurines, T-shirts, caps, mugs, fridge magnets, stickers, babies’ bibs and laminated bank notes.
One of the most bizarre offerings on eBay and other websites is a series of T-shirts for dogs emblazoned with the logos “When Susan sings, beauty surrounds you” and “Susan Rocks”. The items cost from £4.99-£12.
Other products include shower curtains from an American retailer with a picture of Boyle beneath the legend “A New Hope” (£18), as well as “God bless you Miss Boyle” and “I Kissed Susan” messenger bags (£16) sold by a UK firm. Another website is offering “Don’t Simmer, Boyle” aprons (£15).
With all of this magnificent junk on sale, Team Boyle will surely get in on the action soon. For my part, I’m waiting for a bobble head.