2017 is the Year of Merch. What was once proof that you saw your favorite band in concert has now become an entire industry itself. Now, there's merch for bands, for brands, for restaurants... Basically, if you can stan for it, you can wear it. And as longtime advocates of fanning out for the things you care about, we've welcomed this trend with open arms.
Genius, the annotation-turned-source-of-everything-music site, understands the importance of fandom more than anyone else. Earlier this year, it released a merch collection dedicated to the year 1997, which paid homage to everyone from Fiona Apple to Biggie. Now, it's back with a new capsule that's all about the songs that made 2017 bearable.
"We wanted to reflect the year in music by covering a range of genres, vibes, and lyrical styles," explains Lila Murphy, Genius' creative lead. "We wanted to do an homage to the artists, their lyrics, and their connection with Genius. Our artist interviews and annotations from our community have really allowed us to bring to life the stories behind these songs." Their final selection is a perfect snapshot of the year in music featuring SZA, Kendrick Lamar, Calvin Harris and Frank Ocean, Lil Uzi Vert, and yes, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. All the designs are inspired by lyrics in the songs, taking the graphics beyond your usual merch look of artist portraits or cover art. Instead, the designs are cool enough to stand on their own — separated from the fandom that inspired them — an important requirement for the new-wave of merch.
Murphy adds: "I think the appeal of modern-day merch depends on the cultural relevance and freshness of the items and designs. The bar is constantly being raised for artists and the industry to meet the demands and desires of the fans." And after this collection, consider the bar hella high.