Spotify Now Allows Artists to Sell Merchandise Directly In-App Via Merchbar Integration
Spotify has a difficult reputation among artists. For consumers, it’s great because it’s relatively cheap and you have access to just about every piece of recorded music you could ever ask for. For artists, though, the actual money they make per stream is laughable (if it weren’t so sad), and Spotify is even finding new ways to pay artists less if they don’t want their music to fall into obscurity.
Spotify will promote artists' songs to more users if they agree to lower royalty payments https://t.co/TAdRTC47cf
— Insider Business (@BusinessInsider) November 3, 2020
If there’s one positive with Spotify, it’s that the platform has at least allowed artists one more outlet to sell merchandise, which is especially crucial at the moment, with tours and live shows on hold. You can make the argument that, just like music piracy, streaming services like Spotify expose people to an artist, and then people will spend money on concerts or merchandise.
So, it’s a good thing for artists that Spotify has integrated merch sales into the platform, similarly to how YouTube, TikTok and Instagram have.
Wow, you can buy Vinyl through @Spotify on @merchbar pic.twitter.com/x4FXi8jdA2
— Björn Darko 🐋💨 (@bjoerndarko) April 27, 2017
Spotify’s on-platform store is run through Merchbar, an online music and merchandise platform.
Relying on Spotify isn’t an ideal situation for artists, but right now it’s one of the few options they have. During a PRINTING United Digital Experience session a few weeks ago, decorators talked about how the performing arts side of their business relied heavily on e-commerce during the pandemic. In some cases, demand was so high that it prompted decorators to make it a more substantial part of their business model. Some companies even had to hire more staff to handle it.
And despite Spotify’s shortcomings, it’s not going anywhere. The consumer public has gotten a taste of the convenience and affordability of having the world’s musical catalog at their fingertips. Now, at least, they might be willing to spend a few extra dollars on a T-shirt.
Even on the "content creator" side on platforms like YouTube, artists and creatives are leaning more into the ability to sell through whatever platform consumers are using. This weekend, Teespring is hosting a "live shopping event" on YouTube, where creators will be able to advertise their products while making videos and pin certain products on the screen for people to buy. Maybe they'll even give you a shoutout if you buy something.
YouTubers have broken into what some might call the "mainstream" entertainment field, touring like traditional comedians or artists. So, even though their primary medium is digital, they still feel the burn of lockdown.
"The buy-in from creators has been fantastic," Teespring CEO Chris Lamontagne said in a press release about the live shopping event. "We are seeing a really creative approach with creators planning to do physical merch drops on Black Friday, Digital Products drops on Cyber Monday, and to create charity themed Campaigns on Giving Tuesday.
"We’ve been really excited to launch this feature with YouTube since live shopping started to boom this year," he continued. "Through this partnership, our aim is to provide a tool for creators to interact with their fans, and drive authentic engagement across their channels. This feature comes just after our announcement of Digital Products—we’re keen to keep offering endless ways for creators to engage with fans across all realms of the internet.”
It’s not quite as exciting as the merch table at a concert, but at least you won’t have to hold onto a T-shirt or record for the band’s whole set, or stand in the sweaty mess of a line after the show.
Brendan Menapace is the senior digital editor for Promo Marketing. While writing and editing stories come naturally to him, writing his own bio does not.