In the 24 hours following Daft Punk’s breakup Monday, Dylan Thomas’ Etsy storefront sold $22,000 worth of custom helmets made to look like the group’s iconic robot heads — and could have sold more, if he’d had the time to build the merchandise. “I could’ve made $100,000,” says the 37-year-old from Sylva, North Carolina, whose day job is working for a management company overseeing paint and pressure-washing crews. “It blows my mind. My friend goes, ‘Dude, quit your job and capitalize on this.’ But there’s no guarantee.”
Following the French duo’s announcement, which came after 28 years as one of electronic dance music’s most influential acts, fans went on extreme buying binges, flooding Etsy stores and driving up eBay prices where a sealed two-LP copy of the band’s 2013 album Random Access Memories was up to $355 by Wednesday afternoon, a limited-edition action-figure set was going for $406 and sellers were asking astronomical prices for rare memorabilia, like a “Get Lucky” condom for $10,000.
“Yesterday, I got seven orders in one day,” says Thomas, who figured out how to build the helmets six years ago and, through his company, KirmyProps, prepares for about 20 orders every Halloween for his gold-chrome helmets with flashing LED lights that sell for $2,000 a piece. “This took me off guard. You would think when a band breaks up, people are pissed about it.”
Daft Punk’s futuristic helmets and reclusive mystique have been the centerpiece of an elaborate merchandising and marketing campaign for decades — and Monday’s breakup heightened consumer interest. On Discogs, copies of Random Access Memories are always popular — usually No. 3 or No. 4 in sales among the music marketplace’s 8 million users, according to spokesperson Aub Driver — but Tuesday band’s catalog sales spiked about 3,650%, from around 40 copies a day to 1,500. And customers’ “wants” for Daft Punk music also increased over 500% during that span, from less than 1,000 to more than 6,000.
“This is the type of thing we see with artists’ deaths all the time. We saw it with Prince,” Driver says. “We’re still riding pretty high as far as people’s interest. I don’t think it’s going to go away.”
Daft Punk tribute stores everywhere have had to contend with sudden demand. Artem Medvedev, a 24-year-old electrical-engineering student in Athens, Georgia, earns $2,000 a month through sales of helmets, gloves and do-it-yourself kits — until Monday, when sales spiked nearly sevenfold. “Everyone just decided, ‘Today’s the day,’” he says.
Ben Gottfried, a 25-year-old in Fort Collins, Colo., invested last fall in vinyl copies of the band’s 2010 soundtrack for Tron: Legacy, and sales went up 50-70% this week, with prices increasing from $100-150 to $200-250. “It’s a bit of a FOMO thing: ‘I should really get this Daft Punk,’” says Gottfried, whose full time job is running an online store called Book of Resell on Discord, Instagram and others. “It creates this nice uptick.”
As for the $10,000 condom, it has yet to sell on eBay — although its owner, Philip Gomes, a Columbia Records A&R manager from 2011 to 2015, remains hopeful. “I’m going to stick with it,” says Gomes, 34, who now lives in Nevada and works in the tech industry. “I don’t think it’s outside the price range of a Jake Paul or Logan Paul — the TikTok celebrities who have absurd amounts of money to spend and will literally just buy it because it’s a $10,000 condom.”
But buyer beware. “The condoms are five or six years old,” he adds. “So you’re definitely taking a chance.”