July 23rd, 2020

Big music news in the rap industry, plus One Direction's 10-year anniversary celebration .

Logic Announces Retirement 

Logic is retiring from the music industry after a decade of being one of the biggest artists in rap, releasing his final album on Friday. He wants to focus on being a father, but will also stream on Twitch after singing a lucrative seven-figure deal with the company. 

10 Years of One Direction

One Direction fans are in for a treat as the band is set to launch an array of content to celebrate 10 years of 1D. They've released a special visual playlist on Spotify, and are launching an interactive website to relive your favorite One Direction moments.

J. Cole Drops New Music, Preps Album

Surprise, J. Cole has been in the studio prepping a new album The Fall Off. Two new tracks, "The Climb Back," and "Lion King on Ice" are available now. As for an album release date, none yet as Cole noted he's "taking his time" and still wrapping up the project.

One Direction shook up the Internet as they ramped up hype around their 10-year anniversary celebration. The burning question remains: will they get back together? Who can say, but what we do know is there's more than one direction. Yes, you might need a compass rose to make sure you're headed in the right cardinal direction. Do people still own physical compasses? Let's see, Goggle:

One Direction with a 50-state sweep. It's not looking good for compass roses, everyone. 

This week Damian sent a pic of their daughter rocking one of our favorite hoodies from one of our favorite artists: Billie Eilish. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air vibes n this hoodie go well with the "Bad Guy" approved shades, thank you for sharing!

Rock on.

Ok, so this isn't a throwback, but the Verzuz battle between Snoop Dogg and DMX was ABSOLUTELY classic. The two legendary emcees got together for an incredible moment in rap history last night, performing hit after hit and having an overall great time with great energy. If you didn't catch it, there's a full replay right on their Instagram page.

July 16th, 2020

Metallica is releasing a stunning performance, Megan Thee Stallion shares some stunning news, and much more inside!

Megan Thee Stallion Survives Shooting

Megan Thee Stallion shocked fans when she took to Instagram to share that she is "grateful to be alive" after being shot multiple times last weekend. She was taken to the hospital by police and is expected to make a full recovery. A very scary situation, but we're relieved that she's going to be OK.

Care Home Residents Remake Album Covers

In the world of awesome things, fans remaking iconic album covers is one of our favorite genres here. These elderly residents at a care home in London have spent their time in lockdown recreating covers, and the results are awesome. 

Metallica Dropping S&M 2

Metallica's S&M concert is one of the band's finest achievements, something they revisited in 2019 at San Francisco's Chase Center. Lucky for those who couldn't attend we'll be able to bring it home, with Metallica announcing they'll be releasing it on vinyl, digital, CD, DVD, Blu-ray and as a box set in August. We can't wait to get our hands on this!

Snoop Dogg is the American dream. A young Calvin Broadus made a splash after his talent was recognized by Dr. Dre, and decades later, is considered by many a Mt. Rushmore rapper. DMX had one of the hottest runs in rap history as we hit the 2000's, solidifying his place in the books with a string of huge singles and steady album releases. They'll be going head-to-head in the latest Verzuz battle on Wednesday, so we thought it'd be fun to put them in a little primer here in Music vs. The World. 

Snoop takes this one in a sweep, but we're confident X will bounce back and put up a memorable performance next week. 

Shouts to BIG JACK out in Italy for sharing this shot of him rocking his Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge Uncut tee. In the pantheon of great Rolling Stones moments, their Voodoo Lounge performance ranks near the very top. It doesn't hurt that the artwork is so dang iconic. Thank you for sharing!

Rock on.

Gabba Gabba we accept you, we accept you one of us! The story behind the Ramones' famous catchphrase brings us to the 1932 film Freaks, featuring the line "gobble gobble we accept her, we accept her, one of us." One of the characters' conditions was microcephaly, or sometimes referred to at the time as "pinhead." And thus, the legendary "Pinhead" track was born.

July 9th, 2020

Rolling Stones Reissuing A Classic

Big news for Rolling Stones fans as the band announced a 4xLP box set reissue of its 1973 album Goats Head Soup. The box set will include previously unreleased tracks, including a feature from a guitarist you may have heard of before: Jimmy Page. 

Juice WRLD Posthumous Album Out This Week

The first posthumous album from Juice WRLD releases July 10, announced alongside a visual for the lead single. Legends Never Die may be bitter sweet, but will give fans an opportunity to hear more of the music Jarad Higgins was creating before his tragic passing. 

Goodbye To A Legend

We couldn't wrap up our news section without paying our respects to one of the greatest film composers of all-time, Ennio Morricone, who passed away at 91. Writing the scores for over 500 movies is an incredible accomplishment, and his evocative vision for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly will carry on through eternity. Rest in power. 

We're doing something a little different in this space this week, piggybacking on our note regarding the passing of Ennio Morricone. Being able to draw emotions out of your audience is key for any film, and Morricone was an absolute master of using music for just that. Perhaps no song captures the magic between film and music than "Ecstasy of Gold," which has skyrocketed to the top of Google Trends this week. 

Of course, here's the Metallica S&M live performance of the iconic song, which is absolutely stunning. 

There's nothing we love to see more than fans rocking vintage tour merch, and Danielle delivers this week. Love the post, love to see the great outdoors, and love that Guns N' Roses tour tee. Thank you for sending this our way!

Rock on.

In the realm of artists with insane levels of style, Elton John is right there at the top. This shot, taken from his home in 1974, is proof enough alone. The white suit. The bucket hat and bow tie. The rosy shades. The smirking pose in front of the piano. What you are looking at, folks, is a legend.

July 2nd, 2020

BLACKPINK Is Back

BLACKPINK made an incredible return, setting multiple world records with 86.3 million viewers tuning in to the premiere of the video for their brand new single "How You Like That." If you're a fan, keep an eye out for their debut performance on the Tonight Show Friday.

... So Are Beavis & Butt-Head

Yes, you read that right. It is 2020, and Beavis & Butt-Head are back. Mike Judge is back to reprise the series, with Comedy Central taking the reigns as host to America's favorite metal-head duo. Now go ahead and drop "The Boys Are Back In Town" and let this massive news sink in. 

This AI Generated Iron Maiden Song Is Amazing

Speaking of metal, I wonder what those two would think about this AI-generated Iron Maiden song. YouTuber Funk Turkey crammed all of the band's lyrics into his mystery machine, creating a full-fledged Maiden song called "Power Gravy." Truth be told, this may be my new Thanksgiving anthem.

Every week we take to Google Trends to see what people are searching for. Are people looking for WD-40 or E-40? What about Lil Yachty vs. Boat Rentals? Are people yawning, or looking up Yanni's discography? What's more popular; NASCAR or Coachella?  

It's rare that we use this space to put legends against one another, but this week, the time is right. Two of the greatest bands of all-time shall step into the Google Trends ring, and a champion shall arise in this dream matchup. This week we've got Iron Maiden going up against Black Sabbath,a little something for all of our metal fans out there:

Black Sabbath put up a fight, but Iron Maiden held with a steady lead. Perhaps that "Power Gravy" tune gave them that extra oomph they needed.

This week we're going out to Illinois to hang out with Dan, who was on his way to a socially-distanced drive-in concert and decided to snap this pic. We've gotta say, that Red Hot Chili Peppers tee is one of our favorites, and we're happy to report the show was a blast. Thanks for sharing!

There were a handful of throwback gems in consideration for this spot, but in the end, how can you not go with The Godfather of Soul himself? James Brown jumping in exquisite form in the middle of the streets of New York City, is truly a sight to behold. Absolute legend. 

June 25th, 2020

Serenading Succulents 

An opera house in Spain re-opened this week to the roaring crowd of... 2,300 house plants? Yes, the string quartet live streamed the concert with plants as the audience, then donated them to frontline health workers. A cause worthy of applause.

Musically Distanced

What do you do when you finally start a band and suddenly can't meet in person? Take a page out of jazz's book and improvise, of course. This NYU professor created a new online platform meant to remove the latency of trying to jam together over the internet, which is now being used to collaborate for live performances  and for educational purposes.

A Legendary Sample Emerges

I've been an MF DOOM fan for close to two decades now, and I can honestly say it was the moment I heard the instrumental "Arrow Root" (listen) that I was totally hooked. Fans have been searching for that sample for over 20 years, and the story of how this producer finally tracked it down - he sourced it back to a VHS tape recording of an old TV show - is absolutely remarkable. 

Every week we take to Google Trends to see what people are searching for. Are people looking for WD-40 or E-40? What about Lil Yachty vs. Boat Rentals? Are people yawning, or looking up Yanni's discography? What's more popular; NASCAR or Coachella?  

MF DOOM may be the greatest villain to ever hold the mic double clutch, donning the mask to conceal his identity. His demands are simple - ALL CAPS when you spell the man's name. Is he the ultimate supervillain, though? Google, we must know the answer.

It's a (mostly) clean sweep for DOOM, though it appears his villainous ways have not reached the plains of Montana and such. 

We've seen a lot of amazing collections and rarities from our community, but I don't think we've ever seen a custom shield yet! James shared this amazing terrazzo Pearl Jam shield, and suddenly I want one for every band I love. Very very cool, thank you for sharing!

I happened upon this incredible photo of Muhammad Ali - still Cassius Clay at the time - and The Beatles and needed to know the story behind it. Luckily I didn't have to look far to learn that Ali had no idea who The Beatles were, and they actually wanted to pose for pictures with then-champion Sonny Liston. Here's the story, enjoy.

June 18th, 2020

Metallica Working On New Album

Legendary Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich floated the idea of the band writing an entire album during quarantine, apparently speaking it into existence. Ulrich confirmed they have begun exchanging ideas during their weekly Zoom meetings. 

Hey, Ho! Let's Go (Get A Bass Guitar)

If you're looking for an incredible piece of music history, Dee Dee Ramone's beloved '75 Fender Precision bass is going up for auction. Dee Dee rocked this bass from '79 through his departure from the band in '89, when he finally sold it to close that chapter of his life.

Check Out Our My Likes Feature

We don't normally use this space to talk about what we're up to, but the new My Likes feature we just launched is just too good not to! We're super excited about giving you an awesome tool to save all of the merch and vinyl you love. Check out our blog post that showcases how it works, then start building your ultimate collection!

Every week we take to Google Trends to see what people are searching for. Are people looking for WD-40 or E-40? What about Lil Yachty vs. Boat Rentals? Are people yawning, or looking up Yanni's discography? What's more popular; NASCAR or Coachella?  

The world needs more Cardi B, dropping her stunning debut Invasion of Privacy in 2018 and leaving fans holding their breath as they wait for her sophomore follow-up. You don't want to hold your breath if you're doing Cardi O, though, if you follow where we're going here. Yes, it's Cardi B vs. Cardio this week:

Cardi B is doing laps around the competition, running the states like Forrest Gump. 

This might be the most aesthetically pleasing fan pic yet, with Lenny sending in this incredible homage to David Bowie on the 46th anniversary of Diamond Dogs' release. Can we see the rest of the vinyl collection, pretty please?

We'd like to give a special birthday shoutout to the one and only Kendrick Lamar, who turned 33 on Wednesday. Is this our way of summoning a new album from Kung Fu Kenny? Look, it's been three years since DAMN. dropped, you can't blame us for trying! Much love and respect to the one and only K Dot. 

We are super excited about rolling out our brand new My Likes functionality across all profiles, one of the most requested features from fans. It's something our engineering team has had their eyes on for a long time, and it's live for everyone to use today.

Now, you'll be able to save all of the merch and vinyl you love with the click of a button or tap of your screen. Save it for later, create your perfect collection of music merch, and don't lose that vinyl record you finally found. We think it's a huge quality of life improvement, and it's another step toward making your experience at Merchbar personalized for you.

When you're signed in to your Merchbar account you'll see the option to add any product to your likes. We'll also be adding the ability to like something while you're logged out, for those times when you're browsing and don't want to lose that perfect something you just found.

We wanted to make it as streamlined as possible, so this is what it looks like while you're checking out a product:

Or, if you don't want to click through to the product and something catches your eye while browsing through search results, we have an option for that too. Just click the heart:

Once you like something, head over to the My Likes section in your profile to look at everything you've bookmarked:

And voila, your personal picks are all there, a perfect place to showcase your unrivaled taste in music and merch:

This also improves our ability to recommend artists and merch you might be interested in based on what you like and search, which we've added at the bottom of your My Likes page:

With over 1 million unique products to check out on Merchbar, we want to make it easier to surface the artists and products you care about. Improving our ability to personalize suggestions, and giving fans the tools to save products they love, is another step toward an experience built for you.

We're very excited about this new feature, just one of many things we've been cooking up in the Merchbar lab. We're already seeing thousands of products being liked since the first week of launching My Likes, so get out there and start liking the things you love!

June 11th, 2020

Avicii Museum Opening In Stockholm

The life of Tim Bergling will be commemorated with the "Avicii Experience," opening in Stockholm in 2021. The museum will explore the life of the talented artist, from his "boyhood room" to his Los Angeles studio. 

Grammys Drop "Urban" From Categories

The Recording Academy has officially dropped the the term "Urban" from all but one Grammy category, as well as redefined the "Best New Artist" eligibility.  

Go Deep With 40

The man behind any number of your favorite Drake songs, Noah "40" Shebib, let Rolling Stone dig deep into his life in the most sweeping feature ever on the super producer. From his perspective on collaborating with Drake, to his fight with MS, this is an enlightening introduction to the man who's been filling our ears with hits for years.

Do you have a favorite band tee, vinyl record, poster, or amazing music collection you want to share with us? Send us your fan photos at fans@merchbar.com!

Nicole shared this incredible wall of Chester Bennington framed photos and it plucked at our heartstrings. I think everyone has a soft spot for artists like Chester who we lost too soon, but there's solace in the music they left behind for us. Thank you so much for sharing.

I believe everyone should pick up the sticks and take the throne behind a drum set at least once in their life, and seeing Flea raise Chad Smith's hammers to the sky for a roaring crowd is what it's all about. I am more than willing to bet that he can lay down a jam.

June 4th, 2020

Run The Jewels 4 Drops Early

Killer Mike and El-P came through for the people, dropping the highly-anticipated RTJ4 on Wednesday across all streaming platforms. Not only did the album hit airwaves a few days early, but the entire project can be downloaded on the official site for free.  

Gaga's Return

Lady Gaga is back at the top of the charts following the huge single "Rain On Me" featuring Ariana Grande, and the new album Chromatica received a thorough review on The Ringer. "There are lightning flashes of the classic, heedless, fearless Lady Gaga." 

A Conversation With Gibbs and Alchemist

Rounding out a full week of new music release news, Freddie Gibbs and Alchemist unleashed their collab project Alfredo on fans this week out of nowhere. The duo sat down with Complex Music to discuss one of the best and surprising rap albums of the year. 

Every week we take to Google Trends to see what people are searching for. Are people looking for WD-40 or E-40? What about Lil Yachty vs. Boat Rentals? Are people yawning, or looking up Yanni's discography? What's more popular; NASCAR or Coachella?  

"Damn homie, in high school you was the man homie," legendary words from 50 Cent that were inescapable once upon a time. Back when he first dropped Get Rich Or Die Tryin' there's a pretty good chance I took all of my loose change to my nearest Coinstar to put together a few bucks to grab another CD. So this week we're asking: Which money counter has the most Google stacks?

It's 50 Cent in a clean 50-state sweep. 

This week Hannah sent a pic of her rocking this awesome Ghost Prequelle raglan shirt, which is her "favorite" piece of merch! I know we've got plenty of Ghost fans out there who can appreciate this one. Thank you for sharing, and keep sending your fan pics in folks!

Back in 2003 Metallica was prepping to release St. Anger, with the title-track serving as the lead single. The band wanted to shoot the video at San Quentin prison, and in exchange, made a donation as well as played a 10-song set for inmates. And that is the story behind this very metal picture.

June 1st, 2020

So the music industry is “shutting down” for Blackout Tuesday. Since I first heard about it it felt off, but I couldn’t place why.  

It took me until tonight to realize that my problem is that as the leader of a company in the music industry I’m feeling pressure to do the exact opposite of the pressure I feel to do what is right as a person. 

In the CEO chair I hear a voice saying “don’t rock the boat,” “this isn’t a bad thing to do,” and “just do what everyone else is doing.”

I hear that voice saying “playing along isn’t that hard.” 

But it took me until tonight to realize that it isn’t that I don’t want to do what the industry is doing, it is that what's being done isn’t enough.

I’m a white middle-class guy from middle America. I grew up in Missouri so I have known racism was real as long as I can remember, but some of the first insights I had into the struggle of people with black skin in this country, and some of my first understandings of the history of black people in the United States, came from music.

My friends smuggled Outkast CDs. NWA tapes.  

I first heard about Public Enemy on TV (not in a good way) but I first heard Public Enemy and read their liner notes in my friend’s basement.

I wish I had gotten smarter faster, but I’m glad I had the chance to learn about what was happening at all.

It was thinking about these voices, that for decades have been telling us about the truth we’ve seen in unbearably high-resolution video for the last week, that I know we need more of. 

And if we need these voices, why deny - for even a day - that opportunity for the next generation?

In times of crisis many look to the voices of politicians and faith leaders, but just as many, if not more, look to the voices of artists.

My heart feels like the world needs those voices amplified, not paused. 

Blacking out means putting the world one day further away from what it really needs: strong voices speaking the truth.

Merchbar doesn’t need a day of reflection to understand some of the simple truths in front of our faces:

George Floyd was murdered in broad daylight by people sworn to protect him. He was murdered against the protests of onlookers who knew exactly what was happening. He was murdered on camera by a police officer while three other police officers stood by or helped. 

He wasn’t just murdered by a man, but by a system of racism and fucked up policing.

As I write this, the president is threatening to deploy the US military into the cities our team, our fans and our artists live in - in flagrant disregard for the law. 

The heart of the industry is in the right place and we support that effort, but at the same time it feels like the worst moment of my life for silence.

Today we’re doing several things to support righting this real injustice that has been plaguing our country for centuries. 

Today we are:

■ Using our social accounts and our website to support and amplify the voices of artists within the black community that have been calling out the problem for years.

■ Respecting the wishes of the artists and platforms we work with in their participation in Blackout Tuesday

In honor of #BlackoutTuesday, we’ll be donating all profits from today’s sales to the Howard University Alumni Association emergency scholarship fund.

These are in addition to our long-standing policies of:

■ Never allowing racist or violence-inciting products on our website, including merchandise containing images of the confederate flag.

■ Removing listings from artists that explicitly support white supremacy or racism.

■ Blinded hiring processes.

As I mentioned above, we’re respecting the efforts and wishes of all of the artists and platforms we work with and will be mirroring their blackouts. What that means is that if an artist’s store is blacked out for Blackout Tuesday, we’ll make sure their store is closed on Merchbar as well.

We’ll make mistakes but we work to not only improve and listen, but act and use our resources to advocate for progress, justice, peace and opportunity for all.

Thank you,

Ed Aten

Founder & CEO, Merchbar

May 28th, 2020

Save Unlimited Songs On Spotify

If you're a Spotify power user then we've got some good news for you. The old 10,000 song limit for your library has been lifted, and you can now save an unlimited amount of songs to your library. Save away, friends! 

20 Years of Gorillaz

This 20-year retrospect on the Gorillaz in the form of their newly-announced almanac book is going to be a must-own for fans.120 pages of fully-colored art diving through the history of our favorite jammin' cartoons.  

Drive-In Concerts Are Here

It might not be the concert experience we all miss, but drive-in shows are the latest option that artists are looking at. They're already happening around the globe, and might just be coming to a parking lot near you this summer.

Hey Fans,

We're looking for pictures of our community wearing, sharing and loving the merch they've found on Merchbar! Bonus points if you tell us why you love that artist! Drop us a line at fans@merchbar.com.

Community member Brittany was doing some quarantine cleaning and stumbled upon this incredible Dressed To Kill autographed sleeve, along with the meet and greet bracelets it took to acquire said signatures. A big shoutout to Brittany, a noted KISS Army member since the age of 8!

The Troubador is a legendary venue, Elton John is a legendary artist, and when you put them together you get a legendary performance. This shot of Elton John was just too good to pass up. 

May 21st, 2020

Oops She Did It 20 Years Ago

Britney Spears' classic sophomore album Oops!... I Did It Again turns 20 this year, and this deep retrospective on Spears ascending to the top of pop is a great read.  

Studio 54 Remaking Disco Classics

Iconic disco club Studio 54 is launching a record label, aiming at "reimagining" classic disco tracks from the '70s. We just wanted to put that on the radar for our fellow disco lovers.  

Lorde Emails Fans About New Album

It's been a few years since Lorde blessed our ears with new music, but have no fear, a new album is near. If you're wondering about her approach, Lorde let fans know via email that "greatest treat" she can give them is a record that lasts "thirty years." Count us in for new Lorde!

Hey Fans,

We're looking for pictures of our community wearing, sharing and loving the merch they've found on Merchbar! Bonus points if you tell us why you love that artist! Drop us a line at fans@merchbar.com.

Community member Brittany was doing some quarantine cleaning and stumbled upon this incredible Dressed To Kill autographed sleeve, along with the meet and greet bracelets it took to acquire said signatures. A big shoutout to Brittany, a noted KISS Army member since the age of 8!

I came across this picture of The Rolling Stones at the start of their career, a nearly unrecognizable group that had only just begun making its mark. This was from back in 1964, a year that saw The Stones release their debut album and sophomore follow-up. Oh, how things only evolved from there. 

May 14th, 2020

Dave Grohl's Heartfelt Letter

Dave Grohl lent his writing to The Atlantic, penning a sentimental letter on the irreplaceable thrill of live shows. I know we miss concerts, so this one plucks at our music-loving heartstrings.  

Stream An Amazing Prince Show Today

YouTube is launching a fully remastered Prince concert, premiering it via stream for free Thursday evening. Prince and the Revolution: Live was the first officially released Prince concert, filmed during the Purple Rain Tour, and we can't wait to bask in what will surely be a glorious event.

 Run The Jewels 4 Announced

Last but certainly not least, Run The Jewels 4 has a release date AND tracklist. RTJ4 drops on June 5, an 11-track album featuring Zack de la Rocha, Pharrell, 2 Chainz, DJ Premier and what looks like an amazing slate of guests. We. Can't. Wait.

Every week we take to Google Trends to see what people are searching for. Are people looking for WD-40 or E-40? What about Lil Yachty vs. Boat Rentals? Are people yawning, or looking up Yanni's discography? What's more popular; NASCAR or Coachella?  

To say we're excited about getting a release date for Run The Jewels 4 is an understatement; this resulted in several ALL CAPS direct message exchanges in our team. The question is: Are the jewels they're running uncut? Finding the right opponent for RTJ was tough, but Adam Sandler's high-anxiety Netflix original movie felt like the right fit this week.

If you get in the ring with The Sandman, you better not miss. Uncut Gems takes this one in a unanimous decision.

Hey Fans,

We're looking for pictures of our community wearing, sharing and loving the merch they've found on Merchbar! Bonus points if you tell us why you love that artist! Drop us a line at fans@merchbar.com.

For example, our guy Zack here shared this awesome King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard merch with us via social media. Tag us on Twitter and Instagram and we'll share your awesome finds with our community!

You guys didn't think we'd go this whole newsletter without paying our respects to the creator of rock and roll himself, Little Richard, did you? The world lost a legend, but the spirit of Richard Penniman will live on forever through his influence across music genres and eras. Rest in peace to The Originator, The Innovator, The Architect, and the man who rocked the world.

Hey Fans,

We want to give everyone a clear update on international shipping delays during the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of our products are shipping without any issue, but some international orders may take an additional 6-8 weeks to arrive, depending on local post office function. Shipping has been temporarily suspended to four countries as well.

Worldwide Courier Delays

  • USPS: 6-8 weeks
  • APC: 6-8 weeks
  • DHL: 10-15 business days
  • Royal Mail: 30+ business days
  • Canada Post: 30+ business days
  • Australia Post: 30+ business days

Suspended Shipments

USPS shipping has been temporarily suspended in the following countries:

  • Costa Rica
  • Estonia
  • South Africa
  • United Arab Emirates

We apologize for any inconvenience these temporary shipping issues may cause, and appreciate your patience as everyone works through this. If you have any questions regarding shipping and your order. please reach out to our fan support team at support@merchbar.com.

Thank you,

The Merchbar Team

May 7th, 2020

Metallica's Month of Giving

Metallica's "All Within My Hands Month Of Giving" is underway, with the band planning special content and merch to support organizations responding to the COVID-19 crisis. You can get invovled and check out all of the details right over here. 

Lady Gaga Announces New Release Date

Lady Gaga's sixth studio album was announced, then pushed back indefinitely, but now has a new release date. Gaga let fans know that Chromatica will be out May 29, giving ample time for all the Little Monsters around the world to prepare. 

From Under The Cork Turns 15

The year is 2005 and it's essentially impossible to escape the voice of Patrick Stump and Fall Out Boy's smash single "Sugar, We're Going Down." This retrospective on the album was like stepping into a time machine, a time when Myspace was the dominant social media site and if you didn't have a T-Mobile sidekick you were light years behind.

Every week we take to Google Trends to see what people are searching for. Are people looking for WD-40 or E-40? What about Lil Yachty vs. Boat Rentals? Are people yawning, or looking up Yanni's discography? What's more popular; NASCAR or Coachella?  

I won't lie; before joining forces with Merchbar The Grateful Dead were more myth than tangible to me; godparents of an era and culture. That has (thankfully!) changed since then, and I can now fully appreciate the genius of Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir. I can also appreciate a good pint of Cherry Garcia ice cream, which leads us to this weeks Music vs. The World. 

Ben & Jerry's may have the ice cream market cornered on this one, but they've got nothing on Captain Trips himself. Legends live forever.

Check out Joe's awesome collection of music goodness, which couldn't be contained to just one picture. It's got a little bit of everything; from an awesome sound setup, to filled up vinyl cubes, to envy-inducing framed vinyl sleeves. Truly a collection to be proud of.

Thank you very much for sharing, and as always, thank you to everyone who continues to send in awesome fan pics!

Two of the greatest guitarist to ever pluck the strings, together, in San Francisco, in 1968? Yes, this shot of a young Eric Clapton and Jerry Garcia is a sight to behold. How could we pass this one up?

April 30th, 2020

Record Store Day Reschedules

Every year Record Store Day brings a highly-coveted stash of limited edition releases to vinyl enthusiasts, and this year fans will be getting a three-day rollout beginning Aug. 29, pending on it being safe for businesses to be open.  

Beyonce & Thee Stallion

Beyonce and Megan Thee Stallion jumping on a track together stirred mainstream buzz this week, with the two Houston natives linking up to drive funds for the Bread of Life organization. Check out the song (and video) here

Virtual Concerts Drive Streams

People may be streaming less music while they are staying at home, but virtual concerts have become a breakout opportunity for musicians. With more fans tuning in to concerts from home, data shows spikes in streams for artists who are taking their shows online. 

Every week we take to Google Trends to see what people are searching for. Are people looking for WD-40 or E-40? What about Lil Yachty vs. Boat Rentals? Are people yawning, or looking up Yanni's discography? What's more popular; NASCAR or Coachella?  

Who doesn't love the Foo Fighters? Dave Grohl is a certified national treasure, but did you know he named the band after unexplained "aerial phenomena" pilots saw during WWII? Speaking of unexplained phenomena, the Pentagon released actual footage of unidentified flying objects this week. 2020, folks. So, this week we look to the skies and ask: is the world looking for Foo Fighters or UFOs?

It's UFOs by a lightyear.

We want to share pictures from our growing community of music lovers! Let's see your favorite live concert shots, band tees you cherish, trademark hoodies, collection of instruments, posters, and everything you love about music!   

We asked for music art and the community delivered as it always does! This week we're taking a gander at T Bourne's collection of Kanye West art, which is an awesome retrospect on the old 'Ye through the years. The 808's & Heartbreaksbear is *chef's kiss* perfect.

Thank you for sharing, and keep sending us all of your music pics! 

If there's one thing you, faithful reader, should know about your favorite Merchbar Newsletter Creator it is this: If there is a cat, I am sharing it. This week's throwback shot is of Paul McCartney with his absolute unit of a cat. In doing some research (I wanted this kittie's name) I uncovered the interesting tidbit that Paul had a trio of kittens named Jesus, Joseph and Mary. 

April 23rd, 2020

Radiohead's Ed O'Brien Opens Up

Radiohead founding member Ed O'Brien has spent decades complementing the musical ideas of Thom Yorke, but his newly-released solo debut Earth steps out of the massive shadow of his former success and is an amazing record on its own. He opened about the process of creating going solo in an expansive Q&A with Rolling Stone.

Fiona Apple Is All The Way Back

Eight years have passed by since we last had a new Fiona Apple album in our hands, but Fetch The Bolt Cutters came out last week with resounding critical acclaim around it. How good is the record? Pitchfork gave it a 10/10 in their in-depth review, and Metacritic's aggregate critic score is a whopping 100 out of 100.

Producers Are Outsourcing Loops

The dig for the perfect sample to loop has driven some of the greatest hip-hop producers of all-time, but the industry is changing, and clearing samples is a costly endeavor. This has paved the way for "loopmakers" to compose packs of their own loops they send to producers, a practice delved into in this excellent piece.

Every week we take to Google Trends to see what people are searching for. Are people looking for WD-40 or E-40? What about Lil Yachty vs. Boat Rentals? Are people yawning, or looking up Yanni's discography? What's more popular; NASCAR or Coachella?  

Since we're talking about Fiona Apple, I figured I'd pop her into the ole' Google Trends machine and see what kind of impact the new album had on her search score. Unsurprisingly it's surged over the last week after she treated fans to an incredible record. Speaking of treats, anyone like caramel apples? Google says folks certainly do, but which apple will take the prize this week?

Despite only capturing a handful of states, Fiona Apple comes out with our narrowest victory yet with an average popularity score of 8 to caramel apple's 7.

We want to share pictures from our growing community of music lovers! Let's see your favorite live concert shots, band tees you cherish, trademark hoodies, collection of instruments, posters, and everything you love about music!   

No, we're not looking at a wall of vinyl record sleeves, these are all fan art covers made by community member Bronte, done by hand with watercolor. We're in love with this awesome display of music fandom, thank you so much for sharing!

Do you have any music art hanging on your walls? We want to see your creations, awesome pieces you've picked up, and all of your beloved music goodies. Send 'em in folks!

You've probably seen photos of Jimi Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire on stage before, and the very first time he doused his axe in flames was in London back in 1967. 

But did you know he gave that Fender Stratocaster to Frank Zappa? Zappa not only held onto the guitar, he restored it to give it a second life, bridging a fascinating relationship between two icons.

April 16th, 2020

Working Sounds Better With Music

If you're looking to up your productivity during work hours, it might be time to make a playlist for that. The Guardian has an interesting breakdown on how to use music to your advantage, and what kind of music you should throw on while knocking out some tasks. 

 

Jam With David Guetta This Weekend

If you're looking for something to do this weekend while sitting at home, might we suggest the two-hour David Guetta livestream performance? Guetta will be raising money for four organizations providing COVID-19 relief, and the event will be "a state-of-the-art production." Check it out this Saturday at 6 pm ET. 

 

Bruce Springsteen Leads Benefit Concert

After the Guetta experience, tune in to another benefit concert on April 22, headlined by Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, SZA, Halsey and more. The Jersey 4 Jersey concert will also be raising money to support New Jersey's Pandemic Relief Fund. 

Every week we take to Google Trends to see what people are searching for. Are people looking for WD-40 or E-40? What about Lil Yachty vs. Boat Rentals? Are people yawning, or looking up Yanni's discography? What's more popular; NASCAR or Coachella?  

I've been listening to the new Thundercat on repeat since it dropped last week, one of my favorite records of 2020. The follow-up to 2017's Drunkwas everything I had hoped for, filled with the magic from Flying Lotus and Thundercat. Speaking of magical cats, Felix The Cat was one of my favorite cartoon characters growing up, always digging in his bag for his own little bit of magic. So, this week we've got a battle of felines: Thundercat vs. Felix The Cat:

Felix is holding on in a few states, but overwhelmingly the big cat in the building this week is Thundercat. 

We want to share pictures from our growing community of music lovers! Let's see your favorite live concert shots, band tees you cherish, trademark hoodies, collection of instruments, posters, and everything you love about music!   

We got a handful of awesome record collection pictures this week, and today we're getting a look at a colorful spread of vinyl. Brian sent us his collection of records released exclusively on Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep, two sister record labels that he travels the world to see every year. We love to hear from superfans, and we love the vibrant album artwork on display here.

Thank you for keeping the community pictures streaming in everyone!

Hip Hop royalty was on display last weekend when legendary producers DJ Premier and RZA stepped into the Instagram Live ring together and "battled" track-by-track. Seeing artists come together to put on shows for fans has been a bright spot over the last few weeks, and hearing RZA's catalog was a reminder of how many incredible tracks he produced. Then, I came across this picture of the largest stash of Wu-Tang CDs I've ever seen, and fully understood the breadth of his genius. Wu-Tang really is forever.

April 9th, 2020

Couchella Streaming This Weekend

What was supposed to be the first weekend of Coachella has been put on hold, but the festival will be dropping a free-to-stream documentary on Apr. 10. The doc will look back at the 20-year history of the festival, with behind the scenes stories, interviews and famous performances. Check it out here

 

Do We Listen To New Music?

Pitchfork's dive into the psychology of discovering new music vs. the comfort of sticking to the songs we already know is a fascinating read.

  

Paying Our Respects

Lastly we'd like to pay our respects to the passing of two legends. The world lost Bill Withers and John Prine, two incredibly beloved and influential musicians. We'll leave you the John Prine Tiny Desk Concert, and one of our favorite tracks, "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers.

Every week we take to Google Trends to see what people are searching for. Are people looking for WD-40 or E-40? What about Lil Yachty vs. Boat Rentals? Are people yawning, or looking up Yanni's discography? What's more popular; NASCAR or Coachella?  

I was looking into the origin of the Nine Inch Nails name and learned Trent Reznor went with it mainly because he liked the way NIN abbreviated. There are a handful of hearsay tales about the "why" of the name, but no one's hammered down a story that sticks. Nails, hammers, I think you get where we're going with Music vs. The World this week:

This one's close, but this win's just something NIN will never have. The Google Trends scales tip in the favor of hammers, edging out one of the greatest ever.

We want to share pictures from our growing community of music lovers! Let's see your favorite live concert shots, band tees you cherish, trademark hoodies, collection of instruments, posters, and everything you love about music!   

This week we are lucky enough to get a look at the loves of Sophie's life, sending an awesome picture of their guitars along with what appears to be some Alvvays 45s.

 If you've got instruments, we wanna see 'em. Keep the awesome community pics coming, and thank you to everyone who shares!

It feels right to end this week with a shot of Bill Withers, along with some kind words from Lenny Kravitz. May your music bring us sunshine even though you're gone.

March 26th, 2020

 

Elton John Hosts Virtual Benefit Concert

What was supposed to be a night of celebration became a night of donation when Elton John hosted the iHeart Living Room Concert For America, raising funds for two US charities. The awards show was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and instead aired an "online" festival featuring Billie Eilish, Dave Grohl, Mariah Carey and more. 

 

Sam Smith Delays & Renames New Album

COVID-19 isn't just pushing back festivals and concerts, it's pushing albums back too. Sam Smith is the latest artist to delay an album release, stating dropping the record in the current state of the world "doesn't feel right." Smith also announced To Die For will be renamed, though didn't reveal what it will be called or when it will release. 

 

Nine Inch Nails Releases Surprise Albums

On the other end of the spectrum, this pandemic led to Nine Inch Nails releasing two new albums as part of the Ghosts series (Ghosts V - VI) last week. “As the news seems to turn ever more grim by the hour we’ve found ourselves vacillating wildly between feeling like there may be hope at times to utter despair — often changing minute to minute,” the band said of the contrasting tones of Together and Locusts. Check 'em out on Spotify.

Every week we take to Google Trends to see what people are searching for. Are people looking for WD-40 or E-40? What about Lil Yachty vs. Boat Rentals? Are people yawning, or looking up Yanni's discography? What's more popular; NASCAR or Coachella?  

The Weeknd has been on top of the music world for quite some time, and with the release of his latest album After Hourslast month, is back in the driver's seat. If you didn't catch it, he even added a handful of bonus tracks to the album last week, giving fans even more content to dig into while many are social distancing. Speaking of the near-global quarantine, has anyone else paused to ask yourself what day it is? I know I have, and that's why this week we're wondering: Are people searching for The Weeknd, or wondering if it's the weekend?

We've got a close one folks, but Google Trends informs me that The Weeknd is the winner. And, if you're wondering what day it is, I'll save you a Google search; it's Thursday Apr. 2. 

We want to share pictures from our growing community of music lovers! Let's see your favorite live concert shots, band tees you cherish, trademark hoodies, collection of instruments, posters, and everything you love about music!   

Last week we shared a platinum record commemorating Metallica's "Black Album," and this week we're following it up with Rihanna and Janet Jackson, two of the biggest stars ever. This comes by way of Kevin, who also sent along a platinum plaque for The Temptations, sending us a treasure trove of music goodies. Thank you!

Keep the collectibles and memorabilia coming, we got some amazing stuff last week and we know there's even more out there! 

I was supposed to be seeing Rage Against The Machine at the very moment I am writing this here newsletter to our wonderful community of music lovers, lucky enough to catch tickets for the second wave of added shows. Instead, I am here with all of you in the form of written-word, and while I would love to see one of my top-five bands of all-time for the first time, I'm grateful to know we're all here together. 

So, here's a throwback RATM pic, the closest I'll come to seeing them on this fine day.