Beyoncé is back. Her seventh studio album, act i RENAISSANCE, will be released on July 29. The newest single from her forthcoming album, “Break My Soul ,” gave fans a taste of what to expect.

Along with the surprise album, fans could purchase invisible merch. Die-hard fans flocked to her website to buy the bundle of merchandise, which includes a “renaissance box,” a T-shirt, and a CD. There are four options to choose from, but fans have no idea what they’ll find inside.

Boxes will ship on the album release date, adding to the excitement. Social media will be buzzing as fans react to the album and share unboxings of the merchandise. Being a part of the collective fan experience is a major appeal of the merch. But, as one writer points out, if Beyoncé is selling, fans are buying.

As if she needed it, Beyoncé is tapping into the power of promo for her long-awaited album. For a few, lucky Beyoncé fans, the day will be full of surprises from a new album to surprise promo.

It’s been a summer of house music. Pioneered in the 1980s by DJs, producers and electronic musicians in Chicago, the sound has found its way back into mainstream. Like Beyoncé’s new single, Drake’s latest album, Honestly, Nevermind, which debuted last month, drew heavily from the thumping beats of house music. But it’s not a new album without new merch.

In honor of his Honestly, Nevermind era, Drake released a trendy RealTree camo “Sympathy” tee, with a “Summer 22” on the back. The now sold-out t-shirt was $45. But for musicians, selling merch is not (always) about the money. It’s about extending an artist’s brand.

Beyoncé is known for having fun with her fans. In 2019, Beyoncé's Netflix documentary Homecoming as well as the surprise live album dropped mid-week, surprising fans once again. But when fans demanded a Formation World Tour DVD, Beyoncé answered with cheeky merch.

Beyoncé released her ‘WHERE IS THE FWT DVD TEE’ merch, which came in four colors and featured an all-over graffiti-style print. She also created a selection of thematic Homecoming gear.

Merchandise is also a way for fans to physically connect with artists. One Forbes writer says that today’s music consumption is void of the physical and tangible. With phones, you don’t need to drive to a record store or flip through vinyl records. For artists hoping to create lasting relationships with fans, merchandise is crucial.