Billie Eilish was wearing masks as a fashion accessory before the coronavirus outbreak. (Reuters)
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LONDON – As the global pandemic continues, bands have started offering a new piece of must-have merchandise alongside their T-shirts and hoodies – face masks.
Metal acts like Megadeth, Korn and Thursday have led the way, listing masks on their online stores.
My Chemical Romance are selling a stockpile of masks they designed before the pandemic for a show in the desert.
The proceeds will go to a fund for those in the live music industry who have lost their jobs because of coronavirus (COVID-19).
"We had these masks made to keep you dust-free in the desert, a show that never happened, never will," the band said in a statement.
Perhaps, they suggested, "we were unknowingly waiting for the right time" to send them to fans.
Megadeth's masks, which feature their mascot Vic Rattlehead, are being given away to anyone who places an order on their online shop, with a portion of proceeds going towards coronavirus relief.
A line of surgical masks emblazoned with the Korn logo have sold out on the band's official website – but they promise more stock is on its way.
In the United States, where the Centre Of Disease Control has recommended the use of face coverings to slow the spread of coronavirus, one manufacturer estimates that four to six billion masks will be produced and sold in the next 12 months.
The United Kingdom government's scientific advisers were due to meet on Tuesday to discuss whether the public should be urged to wear masks.
The music merchandise industry, which was worth US$3.5 billion (£2.8 billion) last year, has been quick to respond to the demand.
The landscape has shifted dramatically since Latin pop star J Balvin was accused of cashing in on the coronavirus crisis when he tried to sell branded face masks on his online store last month.
He issued a swift apology, saying the promotion "didn't have my consent".
"This is not the way I act, even less in a moment like this," he added, as the gear was removed from his website. (BBC)