By most estimates, Odd Future gave away nearly 20 albums worth of free music prior to signing various distribution deals. The strategy increased their visibility—landing them on numerous blogs, websites and magazine covers—but it wasn’t initially profitable. Having signed individual deals with XL, Fat Possum and a group deal with Sony, the collective has seen their first group, retail release OF Tape, Vol.2 reach the number 63 spot on Nielsen’s weekly SoundScan report. Now the group is also supplementing their sales by opening pop up shops in cities where they perform.
“We just pop up wherever we at, set up shop…slang and make our money,” Leftbrain explained to Sam Smith of BBC’s “Newsnight.” “Then we dip. Ain’t nobody taking no taxes from us—no cuts.”
Odd Future manager Chris Clancy would later dispute the issue of not paying taxes. But the pop ups do allow fans an intimate, albeit expensive experience. Group members hang out with fans in the temporarily converted stores. Brick Stowell, who managed The Hundreds streetwear store in Santa Monica prior to working with Odd Future, says handmade, tie-dyed shirts were retailing for 100 British Pounds (roughly $160) each in the U.K. And a cursory look at the footage from any Odd Future pop up store shows many fans were gladly lining up for hours to fork over their cash.
“There’s no marketing,” Clancy explained. “It’s exposing it at the right place at the right time. So when you have kids that are completely themselves, you don’t necessarily market. Because you just take who they are and expose it, right? So it’s not like a push.”