The Amazon Music for Artists team recently announced that artists can now list any available merch on Amazon.com on their music profiles on Amazon Music. Furthermore, artists and managers get expedited access to Amazon's Merch on Demand platform.
The company shared the news in a recent email update to all Amazon Music for Artists users. The move to provide easier access to merch through streaming profiles comes just after the one-year mark of Spotify incorporating Shopify profiles into the platform and after the company also announced merch will be part of the yearly Spotify Wrapped promotion.
Amazon Music's Merch Offerings For Fans
It's not a big surprise the Amazon Music for Artists team has been working to incorporate more and more merchandise into the platform. Since the early days of the platform, Amazon has done a lot of market research with users.
One of the primary recurring questions the company asked artists and managers pertained to offering merchandise to fans directly through Amazon Music. And because the streaming service is directly tied to a company whose primary offering is physical goods, it just makes sense.
So it's welcome, but not surprising, that anybody selling physical merch through Amazon.com can now sync up items with their artist profile. But Amazon Music leaning into its own print on demand service does come as a bit of a surprise.
What Is Merch On Demand?
Amazon's Merch On Demand platform is their own proprietary version of print on demand merchandise. If you don't really know what print on demand is, we've covered it a few times.
But here's a quick primer. Print on demand merch — also known as "dropshipping" — is a way to sell merch without having to purchase the inventory upfront. When you utilize a print on demand service, that piece of merch isn't actually created until somebody orders it.
While shirts are the most popular item to use print on demand services for, you can create a wide range of products, from hoodies and sweatpants to shoes, blankets, backpacks, and even things like clocks. The biggest upside is you as the creator don't pay money upfront to make these things, which means you can test lots of offerings and designs. The biggest downside is that you make less money because the print on demand company takes a cut and the unit economics just aren't as good.
So while you may be able to make 500 shirts for $5 a piece and sell them for $20 a piece — netting yourself $15 of profit for every shirt — with print on demand it may cost you $12 to make one shirt, so you only net $8 in profit. But then again, you didn't just pay $2,500 to make 500 shirts you hope you can sell.
So Is Using Amazon Music's Merch On Demand Integration Worth It?
There's a big difference between Spotify for Artists' merch integration and Amazon Music for Artists' merch integration. With Spotify, you're really just connecting your Shopify store. And that means you have dozens, if not hundreds, of options for print on demand providers.
But with Amazon Merch On Demand, you're pretty much locked into what they'll pay you. And right now, the money you get paid when you sell merch through Amazon Merch On Demand frankly is just not that great.
For instance, a $19.99 t-shirt sold through Merch On Demand would pay you only $5.23. That's on the very low end for print on demand and also doesn't give you opportunities to do things like upsell, bundle, or recoup money on shipping. There also just aren't that many product options for Merch On Demand.
What it does do, however, is make it incredibly easy to offer merch globally to your fans. If you're not particularly excited about the prospect of starting your own Shopify store, Merch On Demand may be a viable option. But it's unfortunate that you'll need to have separate stores entirely to offer merch through Spotify and Amazon Music.
What About Selling Merch On Amazon?
If you've already got a more advanced merch operation in place, selling products through an Amazon profile may be the way to go. Now that your Amazon.com products can appear on your Amazon Music profile, it makes offering things like vinyl records and bigger ticket items a lot easier.
Selling on Amazon is a lot similar to having a Shopify store. You pay a monthly fee to have your products listed on Amazon. You get to create more of a customized presence (though nowhere near as custom as Shopify). And ultimately, you have more control over what you can sell, whether it's print on demand or not.
The biggest thing Amazon has that Shopify doesn't, of course, is browsing shoppers. When your stuff appears on Amazon, there's a decent chance people will end up on the page just through search results or recommended products. Then again, those kinds of results may not be as applicable to you as a seller, depending on what you're selling.
But if $40 a month (plus fees) and maintaining multiple online store profiles doesn't scare you, it's a small price to pay to get your merch directly in front of the growing Amazon Music audience.