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Kanye makes millions off an album that’s not even out yet

Donda merch // Illustration by Kate Walker

Kanye makes millions off an album that’s not even out yet


Future. Kanye is making millions of dollars selling merch for his yet-to-be-released album, Donda. Along with selling out his Gap collab, Kanye’s eye-popping payday may reveal that the next evolution of music is creating insider experiences for fans to glimpse the creative process.

Consolation prize
Even if Kanye never releases Donda, he’ll still have pocketed millions.

  • The hip hop star has already made about $7 million from Donda merch alone during his listening party at the Atlanta Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • Building on the hype, he’s made roughly the same amount from one night of presales of his red Yeezy x GAP puffer jacket.

When these products hit resale platforms like StockX and Grailed, expect them to sell at insane multiples, fueling even more hype (and sales) for the album that…maybe…one day…might drop.

Where’s Donda?
So, what’s actually going on with Donda? Is it just another Yandhi scenario where the album simply never drops? Our own Boye Fanjinmi has a theory: Kanye’s taking a page from Silicon Valley and “building in public ”— an endless A/B testing of ideas, concepts, and lyrics with his fans, then tweaking his tracks to get the mix juuust right.

Of course, building in public takes an enormous amount of confidence (the Grammy-award winning artist is literally live streaming himself from his little room in the Mercedes-Benz stadium), but Kanye is influential and established enough to give it a try. As fans watch, emotional investment and tee sales go up…for an album that may never need to officially come out.