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For many professional musicians, the real money is not in CD sales or Internet downloads, but in live concert performances. Besides actual sales of tickets to the show, many artists make their money through concert memorabilia and merchandise. Some of the most popular pieces of concert merchandise are concert T's, or concert T-shirts. Concert T's often feature a stylized image of the performer, tour schedules, album artwork or other iconic images associated with that artist. Concert T's featuring teddy bears were very popular items during Grateful Dead tours, for instance.
Concert T's are especially appealing because they have a practical purpose as well as being an artistic expression. Fans can wear these fashionable concert T-shirts to school or to local music venues as a promotion of their favorite artist. Other concert merchandise such as bumper stickers or posters may still make a statement, but wearing a cool concert T-shirt lets others know something about the wearer's musical tastes immediately.
Many concert T's can either be purchased directly at the venue or through online fan sites. Some of the more iconic t-shirts may appear in the clothing department of major retail stores, but many fans of lesser-known or alternative bands may have to search in specialty stores geared towards an adolescent or college market. Some concert T's are only sold at concerts, however, so fans of the artist may want to make sure they have additional funds to buy them before or after the show.
Concert memorabilia and merchandise often gains value over time, especially vintage concert T's. Many people hold onto prized concert T-shirts until they literally fall apart or are no longer legible. Because of the rarity of early concert t-shirts for iconic performers, a vintage concert tee in good condition could fetch a high price at memorabilia auctions. Reproductions of vintage or classic concert T's can also be ordered from specialty T-shirt outlets either online or through advertisements in music-oriented magazines.
I have a couple of concert T's, but not many. I had friends in high school who apparently had a lot more money than I did, and they came away with T-shirts and other assorted memorabilia.
One friend got the best souvenir, though. She had been to the Van Halen concert and came to school wearing her concert T-shirt, and pulled out a long thin wire from her purse. "Do you know what this is?"
We all looked at each other. Nope. No idea. She said, "Eddie Van Halen broke a string and he ripped the broken string off the guitar and threw it into the audience. I caught it! This is Eddie Van Halen's guitar string!" We were all suitably impressed. That was a souvenir worth having. Right up there with my sister's friend who saw the Beach Boys and caught Dennis Wilson's personally monogrammed drumsticks. Better than an Elvis scarf, in my opinion.
Sigh. I never could afford concert T's. I had to be satisfied with a tour program. The T-shirts were always something like $20-$25, and I just never could justify laying down that much money for a T-shirt.
I did it one time. I had a new job and went to a concert, with money to spend. I saw Travis Tritt on the No Hats Tour and bought a shirt. I wore it a lot, and got some envious stares, since it was a pretty nice T-shirt. Great graphics. But I doubt I'll do it again.
I can hardly afford to go to a concert of any kind now, much less get a T-shirt. Back in the day, when I lived at home and didn't have too many bills, I could afford that sort of thing. No longer. Adulthood is definitely not all it's cracked up to be.
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