Spotify gets into the t-shirt business with new update

    Late last night Stockholm-based Spotify updated its desktop client to integrate BandPage, allowing musicians to sell merch right within the Spotify player. It’s clearly all part of steps to help monetize Spotify’s 40 million active users for the company itself, as well as provide musicians for an additional revenue stream.

    With BandPage, fans can buy anything from merchandise like T-shirts and koozies, to VIP experiences like a $2,000 offer to be chilling in Cisco’s studio for his next video. Well, not that Cisco, Cisco Adler, a reggae/acoustic artist. Other offers include a $150 meet and greet with funk legend George Clinton the next time he’s in your town, which wouldn’t be bad at all.

    A-list stars seem to be hesitant to picking up the product if the scrolling banner on BandPage’s homepage is any indication of quality, but the ability to up-sell fans, where they’re listening to your music, seems to be a no-brainer to combat the always-too-small revenues coming from streaming.

    Bandpage also provides bios and tour information for more than 500,000 musicians, and is additionally plugged into music properties like Clear Channel, Google, VEVO, Live Nation, Xbox Music, Rhapsody, LyricFind, Rdio and more.

    The press (myself included) have been speculating on an upcoming Spotify IPO, which seems to be coming later rather than sooner, given Spotify’s job ad for an External Reporting Specialist is back up on their website. This update, however, might sweeten investors to the idea that Spotify can be innovative when it comes to finding new revenue streams and to distance itself from Pandora, the streaming radio service that went public in 2011 and has since been disappointing investors, according to the common narrative.

    To get some insight on this move, we reached out to Jyri Forsström, Chief Marketing Officer of Finland’s Music Kickup, a service that allows artists to publish and track analytics on Spotify and other services. Music Kickup doesn’t monetize with merchandise, like other distributors, but to him it’s a move that makes sense. “It’s good that they’re branching out because it brings them closer to the artists,” he says. “Spotify has had problems with artists trusting them. BandPage has always been the artists tool, so this way Spotify becomes more of an artists’ platform.”

    While we’re talking about Kickup, they’ve soft launched their Artist Pro tools to see how they pick up organic traction. The concept of the service is that the analytics in these tools allow artists to sell themselves though their data. “With analytics they can go to a local radio station to show they’ve got all this data that they’re listened to [in the radio station’s] area. You can then use analytics to sell yourself,” says Forsström.

    Music distribution and monetization is rapidly changing, and it’s a really interesting time to be following the area.