A Very Old Rock Band Has the Most Popular Band T-Shirt

A new survey proves that rock isn't dead, and that music fans will spend a lot of money to buy overpriced band merch

Angus Young and Axl Rose of AC/DC perform at Philips Arena on September 1, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. AC/DC has the most popular band tee, according to a survey of music fans from Rush Order Tees.
Angus Young and fill-in vocalist Axl Rose during AC/DC's 2016 tour.
Chris McKay/Getty Images for BT PR

There are a lot of unwritten rules about concert tees — don’t wear the shirt of a band to that band’s show, don’t buy a shirt from a band you don’t listen to, etc.

Thankfully, we now have some facts and figures to back up these “rules,” with a few surprise concessions, as was discovered by the merch site Rush Order Tees, which recently surveyed 1,017 owners of band tees to see what genres they represent and their purchasing habits (h/t Loudwire).

Some findings from the ROT survey:

  • Punk fans have spent the most money ($597) on their band tee collection, which this writer can attest to after attending the recent Green Day/Weezer/Fall Out Boy show in New York, where the lines for band merch stretched around the stadium hallways
  • Heavy metal fans have the largest band tee collection, averaging 17 band shirts in their wardrobe
  • Respondents were willing to dish out $51 for a band tee … with Millennials willing to go up to $57
  • 58.4% of the surveyed fans said that a vintage band tee is a status symbol, with blues being the most common genre of vintage tee
  • On average, respondents said you should know at least 10 songs before wearing a band’s tee

Surprisingly, about half of the music fans surveyed said the biggest concert rule was to buy a band tee before a concert to wear at the concert, but only 28.5% of respondents thought that not wearing a shirt right after purchasing at a merch table was the most important concert tee rule to follow … and only 20.6% thought wearing a band’s tee to that band’s concert was a serious no-no. (Note to concertgoers: These are egregious errors in judgment, but we’ve profiled worse people at shows, including “Crying underage girl who lost her friends and phone with one shoe on who somehow becomes my problem” and “Barefoot guy.”)

A guest wears sunglasses, an AC DC t-shirt, a studded belt, a yellow oversized blazer jacket, yellow pants, during London Fashion Week September 2019
An attendee of London Fashion Week in 2019 who may or may not be a real AC/DC fan.
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

So, which bands or musicians have the most popular T-shirts? In no surprise, that honor goes to AC/DC, followed by Aerosmith, Queen, Pink Floyd and Green Day. By comparison, Taylor Swift was 18th … perhaps proving that followers of younger artists may find different or hopefully cheaper ways to support their favorite musicians.

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