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Temur Durrani

Multi-Platform Writer


Music and audio streaming titan Spotify Technology SA is partnering with e-commerce giant Shopify Inc. for a new deal that will see global artists and creators display their brands with featured products directly within the same platform.

Fans and listeners will be able to browse and make a purchase on the Spotify profiles for their favourite artists, according to terms of the deal revealed to BNN Bloomberg ahead of a scheduled release on Wednesday.

It’s a partnership between the Stockholm -based streaming service and Ottawa-headquartered Canadian tech business that is the first of its kind.

Starting this week, the integration is available to artists in all markets where Spotify is available. That means listeners in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand will have access.

In an interview, Shopify Director of Product Amir Kabbara said the companies’ rhyming names alone meant this type of partnership was “bound to happen sooner or later.”

He said many artists today are making the leap into entrepreneurship by starting their own businesses that extend beyond music and the sale of traditional merchandise, like T-shirts and vinyl records.

But this is the kind of mammoth change to multiple industries, he added, that can turn regular listeners “into super fans” through a centralized commerce ecosystem.

“We believe that creators — ranging from content creators to artists and beyond — are the next generation of entrepreneurs,” Kabbara said. “In giving creators the tools to monetize across every surface in integrated ways, Shopify is building the commerce infrastructure of the creator economy.”

At the heart of it all, Kabbara said, is a pledge to ensure artists have complete ownership and authority over the “touchpoints of a fully realized business.”

“Artists have complete control over what products show up and can swap them out for key sales moments or new music drops,” he said.

“Artists will be able to see sales within Shopify and can now own the relationship with listeners to develop their lifetime value with things like targeted offers.”

Asked how much of the proceeds from purchases will go to Shopify and Spotify, Kabbara did not provide precise breakdowns.

He pointed to a $29-a-month subscription for creators — through which they can access Shopify’s entire commerce platform and the Spotify integration. A 90-day free trial is available to creators not currently using Shopify prior to the subscription fees, Kabbara said.

According to a report from The New York Times in March, only about 13,000 of seven million artists on Spotify generated US$50,000 or more in payments in 2020.

However, the company has previously said in public statements that roughly 70 per cent of its total revenue is distributed to rights holders like record labels, who then pay artists based on individual agreements.

Spotify reported over US$9 billion in revenue for 2020. On Tuesday, in a memo ostensibly unrelated to the Shopify partnership, Spotify said it plans to hire hundreds of staff to boost sales in Europe, Australia and Canada.

American musician and producer Remi Wolf said of the new partnership: “With the launch of my debut album, Juno, being able to display my newest merch directly on Spotify where my fans are already listening is huge.”

“I’m creating music, but I’m also building a business, a brand and a community,” said Wolf.