The power of the marketplace for band merchandise is often an overlooked and underplayed aspect of what makes up the total fashion marketplace in youth culture. As we’ve reported in many stories on Label Networks, often band merch, especially T-shirts, are not only a strong source of revenue for touring bands, since selling music isn’t all that lucrative anymore, but increasingly has become a major source of revenue among fashion players who see the potential. One such player is Hot Topic, who over the years in our consumer research data, continues to be a strong “favorite place to shop,” buy Adobe After Effects CS6 and even ranking relatively high as a favorite “brand” among 13-25-year-olds.

Inspired by music, particularly Goth, punk, emo, and indie, Hot Topic apparel and accessories also include up-and-coming band merch through license deals with bands such as Paramore, Boys Like Girls, and others. So it would make sense that eventually, they would move into selling music -if only to increase awareness and drive revenue back to their major crop of band merch.

Next month, Hot Topic has announced the launch of their new digital music store called ShockHound, which has gotten the rights to sell from 4 major labels, as well as many indie music labels, for an estimated 1,000 different band T-shirts.

So while iTunes, for example, helps to drive sales of iPods, Hot Topic is using ShockHound to use MP3’s to raise the profile of selling band merch, including T-shirts and accessories.

According to Hot Topic’s President, Jerry Cook, “For us, music merchandise is where the profit is.”

For more information on Hot Topic’s ranking among youth culture consumer preferences in terms of retail and fashion brands, email ; (323) 630-4000 about our Premium Global Youth Culture Subscription.