Macklemore & Ryan Lewis aren't just making records, they're setting them: biggest-selling download of 2013, the first duo to send first two singles to No. 1 on the Hot 100. And they've done it all their way--letting the industry come to them.

Last fall, when their irrepressible hit "Thrift Shop" started to blaze up the charts and they were about to begin the tour for their first album, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had a dilemma: how to sell a $25 concert T-shirt for a song that talks about buying a whole wardrobe with "$20 in my pocket."

"It didn't make much sense," says Wanz (aka Michael Wansley), whose Nate Dogg-like vocals anchor the track's chorus. "The consensus was, 'Why do it?' So we didn't."

Subscribe to billboard biz to continue reading this article and thousands more. subscribers get:
  • 24/7 coverage of every genre and sector of the business with over 150 exclusive charts
  • Bulletin: Breaking stories, chart info and analysis sent directly to your inbox every weekday
  • Billboard Magazine iPad Edition: An enhanced version of the magazine with video, photo galleries and playable charts
  • Archives: A rich history of articles and exclusive charts

Join now or Log In