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Shopify partners with Spotify to give musicians new options for merchandise sales

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TORONTO — E-commerce behemoth Shopify Inc. is linking up with streaming giant Spotify in a partnership meant to give musicians more control over their virtual merchandise tables on the music platform.

The Ottawa-based company has struck an agreement with the popular subscription audio streaming service that introduces its digital retail tools onto Spotify's artist pages, allowing musicians to showcase a line of products alongside their latest singles and albums.

Shopify's services will be an alternative to Spotify's existing relationship with Merchbar, a more traditional online merchandise platform that specializes largely in selling vinyl records and branded clothing.

What Shopify will offer is an "all-in-one commerce platform" the company says will present musicians with an array of new options that give them greater control over how merchandise from their online store is created and displayed to fans.

They can use Shopify's various digital solutions to create new merchandise on the fly with "print-on-demand" options that can turn around items such as coffee mugs, wall art and shirts on short notice.

Those tools could prove especially useful as musicians look to capitalize on the TikTok era when one of their songs can generate massive interest on short notice.

Shopify says thousands of musicians already use its services on their websites and to sell items through other social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, but it believes the Spotify deal will introduce their subscription-based e-commerce services to a larger market of creators.

Merchandise sales have become a lucrative part of the music industry in recent years as album sales dwindled and the COVID-19 pandemic brought touring to a standstill.

Some musicians have used their names to launch products beyond their music. For instance, Pharrell recently introduced Humanrace, an all-gender skincare line while Drake sells luxury candles through his company Better World Fragrance House.

"For many fans, Spotify is the primary way they interact with an artists' music, and we are excited to give artists a new way to capitalize on that moment," Camille Hearst, head of Spotify for Artists, said Wednesday in a statement.

“We want to provide artists with as many resources as possible to help turn listeners into fans, fans into superfans and, ultimately, help artists earn more."

Musicians can link their Shopify online stores to their Spotify for Artists accounts, the digital hub where they manage data on their Spotify listeners. From there, they can choose which products to showcase.

Shopify says the option is available for artists across the globe but merchandise will only appear to listeners in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom for now.

Companies in this story: (TSX:SHOP)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press