- Spotify, the music streaming service with 140 million users worldwide, is expanding its relationship with e-commerce site Merchbar to sell beauty products. Merchbar, which started selling artist merchandise on Spotify last year, now lets fans "shop the look" of their favorite performers, TechCrunch reported.
- Makeup artist Pat McGrath and singer Maggie Lindemann have partnered to sell three shades of lipstick, an eye pencil and eyeshadow palettes through Merchbar. The launch coincides with the release of a new song by Lindemann.
- Spotify doesn't get a cut of the merchandise sales. Instead, the streaming company aims to lure recording artists to the site with more ways to earn money, similar to how social influencers drive sales on social media apps like Instagram, per TechCrunch.
Beauty merchandise is an interesting experiment for Spotify, whose app lets people listen to personalized playlists or curated song suggestions without having to continually look at their mobile devices. However, the app also has plenty of biographical and tour information to browse, giving brands a chance to engage viewers with visual marketing messages, and now, merchandise by musicians.
As Spotify prepares to go public via direct listing — rather than a traditional initial public offering — it is seeking ways to drive subscriber revenue and ad sales in a crowded market for music streaming services that includes Pandora, Apple, Google and Amazon. Spotify last month canceled original video series and is planning to rework its approach to video as other companies like Facebook and Google's YouTube seek to expand their original programming, per Bloomberg News.
Spotify may be missing an opportunity to expand its platform into music-related shopping opportunities by not seeking a cut of merchandise sales or a fee for listing products. Music stars historically have had major influences on fashion tastes, while artists as varied as Jerry Garcia and Taylor Swift have marketed clothing lines, accessories and perfumes that Spotify could help sell on its platform.
Officially, Spotify is trying to give artists a chance to earn more money than they get in paltry royalty fees. But many artists almost consider recordings as a loss leader for more lucrative concert tours. In that respect, Spotify's efforts to boost the number of artists on its site includes live events such as the sold-out Who We Be concert in London based on one of its popular playlists. It also sold tickets for RapCaviar Live, a six-city hip hop tour in the U.S., according to TechCrunch.
Moving into events signals that Spotify may be looking to beef up its adjacent business areas in order to build its community first before taking cuts of the profit. If successful, beauty merchandising may end up being another way for Spotify to make its core music streaming app more engaging for subscribers.