SINGING sensation Susan Boyle could lose millions of pounds in revenue to an online black-market for unofficial memorabilia.
The singer’s management are failing to capitalise on an estimated £5million-a-year worth of merchandise – including dog T-shirts, quirky aprons and £1,000 car number plates – as the market for unlicensed souvenirs booms on sites like eBay.
The 48-year-old is expected to sell 400,000 copies of her album, I Dreamed a Dream, in the first week alone.
But fans online were astonished that there is no official Susan Boyle merchandise available, instead only finding unofficial knock-offs.
One wrote: “Has there been any thought as to having some kind of official merchandise that would benefit Susan, like official T-shirts, bumper stickers, etc?”“I have purchased things from other websites that were really not official and did not benefit Susan.”
Another added: “I am looking forward to the day when we can buy official Susan merchandise.
“I won’t buy anything from anywhere until I know Susan is getting a cut.
“I wonder if her management are doing anything to protect her against others producing unofficial stuff.”
The bizarre items for sale include a series of naff T-shirts for dogs, with logos reading: “When Susan sings, beauty surrounds you” and “Susan Rocks”, costing up to £12 each.
Other items include shower curtains emblazoned with a picture of Susan beneath a banner reading, “A New Hope”, going for £18.
“God bless you Miss Boyle” and “I kissed Susan” can be found for £16, while one site is offering “Don’t Simmer, Boyle” aprons for £15 each.
And on eBay, bidding for a license plate reading, “SOO3OYL” started at £1,000.
With millions of music fans buying online, as well as the decline in CD sales, merchandising has become key source of revenue for pop stars.
But experts have warned that the West Lothian star could follow other stars who have lost out through not seizing on merchandise sales.
The Beatles manager Brian Epstein famously made an expensive mistake, costing the band an estimated £100million when he agreed to a 10 per cent cut of licensing revenue.
Jonathan Shalit, Myleene Klass’ manager, said that Susan Boyle merchandise is worth around £5million a year.
He said: “She is a very inspirational lady and things like T-shirts and caps will see well.
“Even gimmicky products for cats and dogs could do well.”
A spokesman for music giant HMV said they expect Boyle’s album to sell 400,000 copies in the first week alone.
But he added that choosing the best approach over merchandise would be a key decision for her management.
He said: “Susan Boyle’s management and label face a tricky dilemma because if they released all manner of merchandise or licensing rights to third parties, they could have been accused of cashing in and over-exposing Susan at the cost of a more sustainable and successful long-term career.
“There is already a fair degree of hype, so you wouldn’t want to inflate that even more.
“Piracy and counterfeit products are a fact of life for the entertainment industry.
“It happens even where official merchandise is released.”