"Bringing all this into the app in a fairly seamless way with Prime shipping, we think it's going to really help drive sales," says Sean McMullan, director of artist product and services at Amazon Music. He adds, "We think that bringing merch in is one way to really enhance that artist-fan connection and make it a more compelling experience. We'll continue to experiment with lots of different ways to get it in front of customers in the right way."
When asked about Amazon’s share of merchandise sales on the platform, McMullan wouldn't disclose terms, saying simply that the percentage of revenue splits “varies” from artist to artist.
Along with the announcement, Amazon Music will debut exclusive merchandise collections from several artists. These include a new apparel line developed by Selena Gomez timed to her forthcoming Spanish-language EP, Revelación; a new collection celebrating the rock band Weezer; and new merch from Gwen Stefani, Metallica, Queen Naija, Pentatonix, Florida Georgia Line and Queen. In addition, rapper Wale has made Amazon Music the exclusive online retail partner for his merch collection, while Lana Del Rey is offering pre-orders for an exclusive beige vinyl of her new album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club, through the platform.
All of this exclusive merchandise will additionally be made available via the Amazon Music Merch Shop, which launched on Amazon.com late last year.
Other top artists participating in the merch integration at launch include Billie Eilish, Jack Harlow, King Princess, BTS, Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Gucci Mane.
McMullan, who also worked on the Twitch livestream integration that was announced last September, says Amazon Music is currently experimenting with different ways to get artist merch in front of listeners. These include an in-app notification via users’ activity feeds, which will inform artists’ fans when new merch drops, as well as personalization features on Amazon.com that will surface recommendations based on a user’s activity on the site.
Also on the horizon: Experiments with email and push notifications based on listening behavior.
The greater Amazon ecosystem also allows for additional partnerships on the merch side, says McMullan. Though Amazon Music works closely with artists’ existing merch companies, Amazon also has its own merch-on-demand business, called Merch by Amazon, that is currently partnering with several (unspecified) artists on merch manufacturing.
"That's a really fun way to create merch and experiment with different designs, because there's no risk for the artists, they don't have to manufacture it," says McMullan. "It's all made on-demand. So a lot of times, the merch companies will partner with our Merch by Amazon team and create different designs through that. Really, there's lots of different ways to partner with us because of Amazon's scale."
The artist merch integration is just the latest new feature to be introduced on Amazon Music, and it's one that McMullan characterizes as part of a larger strategy to be forward-thinking in their approach.
"We’re pushing the boundaries of what a streaming service is,” he says, adding, "I think you'll see us continue to experiment."