Excerpt taken from November 27 edition of MusicAlly Sandbox:
One of the most fascinating examples of this was Aphex Twin’s recent excursions into retail. In 2017, the enigmatic electronic artist opened his own online store in collaboration with longtime label home Warp Records and Ochre, the D2C service that evolved out of Warp’s own Bleep store.
The store allowed fans to stream Aphex’s catalogue and purchase downloads (including previously unreleased material). Equally importantly, it looked great, having been customised by Aphex Twin himself to fit with his general aesthetic, with video at the centre of the store.
The store also sold individualistic Aphex Twin merchandise, as Ochre MD Dan Minchom explains.
“Warp Records developed a series of merchandise items to celebrate Aphex Twin’s iconic music videos. The aim was to create a unique and fitting item for each video. These included items featured in the videos, such as ‘Windowlicker’ umbrellas, and ‘Donkey Rhubarb’ teddy bears, as well as tongue-in-cheek references like ‘Come To Daddy’ kids clothing,” he says.
Minchom explains that online retail drops were pre-announced to fans and timed around pop-up stores in LA and London.
“On the first drop all the limited-run items, umbrellas, towels, masks, bears sold out pretty much immediately, he says. “There was a second drop a few months later which did the same.”
Most importantly, perhaps, Aphex Twin’s merchandise excursions – which also included limited-edition 12-inches sold at gigs – have helped to put the excitement back into music retail, creating genuine events that generated considerable media buzz, with reports everywhere from Spin to HypeBeast.