Spotify just rolled out a beta feature artists and their teams have been begging for. As of October 20, 2021, some artists on Spotify can now connect their Shopify stores directly to Spotify and sell merch to their fans listening on Spotify.
Why is that such a big deal? Because for the longest time, the only way to offer merch was through a notoriously difficult and notoriously guarded integration with a company called Merchbar. A very small percentage of the artists on Spotify use Merchbar, and if you're an artist who wants to use Merchbar, it can take months to get approval. After that, changing products and inventory etc. can also be a bit of an ordeal.
Now, any artist with a Shopify account can sell merch to their fans on Spotify. (Currently, only fans in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand will see the option to buy merch on your Spotify page).
What Is Shopify And Why Use It?
Shopify is a leading eCommerce platform based out of Canada. For a monthly subscription price, it gives just about anybody the ability to have their own online store. This includes everyone from major brands to artists just starting out.
Several online platforms have eCommerce functions built in. Places like Wix, Squarespace, Bandcamp, Bandzoogle, and more all offer commerce functions for selling items. For some people, these solutions are perfectly adequate. But for many, Shopify offers the customization and plugin options that allow them to create a truly optimal online store.
Shopify also has a lot of integrations with dropshipping companies, which means creators can offer different merch designs and items without actually having to invest in inventory upfront. This is a great way to test different ideas and designs, offer limited merch, or create unique "up-sell" offers to increase your order values.
How Does The Spotify Shopify Integration Work?
The Shopify integration in Spotify allows you to select three different merch items from your store to offer on your Spotify profile. This means fans listening to your music on their Spotify app (mobile or web) will see your merch offers with a picture of the item and the ability to click on it.
From there, users can choose the certain options you have available for the item via a "Spotify Store" page. They'll ultimately complete the purchase on your Shopify cart page.
This setup mirrors other platforms with Shopify integrations, including Facebook and Instagram. That's because when you connect your Shopify to your Spotify profile, you're technically introducing Spotify as another "store.
How Do I Connect My Shopify Store To My Spotify Profile?
It's not too difficult, and if you're at all familiar with the Shopify ecosystem you'll be able to handle it pretty easily. The only slightly "tricky" part comes when it's time to select which items you want to appear on your Spotify profile.
- Log in to artists.spotify.com.
- Go to Profile.
- Click Merch.
- Click LOG IN TO SHOPIFY.
- Enter your Shopify store URL and click LINK SHOP.
Tip: This is the URL in the address bar when you’re on your Shopify store, e.g. “your-store-name.myshopify.com”.
- Log in to Shopify, then follow the steps to set up your accounts.
Note: You’ll get prompted to Add sales channel, accept the terms, and choose the artist you want to link your shop to.
A few important caveats, though. For one, you can "publish" up to 250 items from your Shopify store to your Spotify store. But you can only show up to 3 items at a time. You also can't choose different items for different audiences — everybody who is able to see your merch will see the same items regardless of location.
If you already have a Merchbar account, your Shopify integration will replace those options. If you disconnect Shopify again, your Merchbar merch will reappear.
Please note that you manage which items appear on your Spotify profile via the "Profile" tab in Spotify for Artists, but you choose which items are "published" to Spotify (i.e. which items you can choose from once you get to Spotify for Artists) via your Shopify store options.
Will My Listeners Buy My Merch?
That remains to be seen — anecdotally, Merchbar didn't see that much engagement for artists (just like the "fundraising" buttons introduced during Covid). But Shopify is really on it when it comes to digital marketing and helping shop owners promote their items.
We hope that it's possible in the not-too-distant future to have special offers for top listeners on Spotify, cross-promote your merch, and market items using Spotify's native marketing options.
None of this may come close to the viability of email and social marketing, but it's a step in the right direction as artists continue to grow their brands and recognize that streaming will only be a small piece of the overall revenue pie.
Read more from Spotify about the new Shopify integration here.