By Bryan Joseph of SongAmpr.
This post explains how to automate your merchandise sales on Spotify and Beats Music and teaches how to do it in little to no time with little to no cost.
3 Tools You’ll Need to Automate your Merchandising on Spotify and Beats Music:
- Distrokid.com: $20/year to distribute unlimited music
- SongAmpr.com: Free, automated merchandising
- Topspin’s ArtistLink.com: Free; connect Spotify & Beats Music product offers to your SongAmpr automated merchandising pages
That’s it. It took me about 15 minutes to distribute a song, create an automated product, and connect Spotify to my SongAmpr automated product. As an independent musician and the founder of SongAmpr, I’m pretty amped about this. I’m going to walk you through a tutorial below.
Step 1: Distribute
To start, you’ll need to get your music on Spotify and Beats Music if it isn’t already. I use Distrokid.com and I really like the service. It’s a flat fee of $20/year for unlimited releases. It’s a phenomenal deal and their service and support are excellent. Their system is simple, straightforward, and automated. It took me about 3 minutes to distribute a song to Spotify and Beats Music, along with the other services they include (iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Rdio, Deezer).
[Click on images for full size]
Quick note: As of my last correspondence with Distrokid (February 2014), Beats Music, Rdio, and Deezer are in Beta, so it will take longer to have your music distributed to those services. Otherwise, my song was up on iTunes shortly after submitting. How awesome! I’ve used Tunecore in the past and I’m really excited about Distrokid. It’s a more economical model for the 98% of bands that aren’t selling much music.
Tip: My first release was delayed a few days, apparently because my image was not a perfect square. The instructions suggest a perfect square at 2500x2500. For my second release, I made sure the image was exactly 2500x2500, and it was instantly approved and distributed.
Once you’ve distributed, now it’s time to create your automated product or products.
Step 2: Create Automated Product(s)
Next, you’ll need to create your automated product(s) on SongAmpr.com, where you will direct product sales from Spotify and Beats Music. (Full disclosure: As mentioned above, I founded SongAmpr.)
SongAmpr enables you to choose from a handful of products, design the product, and add your markup (profit), among other features. There is no upfront cost to do this. From there, once you publish a product, when someone buys it, you do nothing except collect your markup.
SongAmpr handles the manufacturing, customer service, and order processing, and ultimately removes the headache and risk involved with merchandising. You don’t have to front money for stock, store the products, mail them out, and deal with issues like returns, where’s my order, etc, etc. This effectively automates your merchandising.
So let’s create our first product:
First, you’ll need to sign up for SongAmpr. Beta invitations are now automated so expect an email in a few minutes. Click through, enter your band info, and you’ll be prompted to create a SongPage. A SongPage is a micro-site for a song, an EP, or even a full-length album. Your call on how to use it.
Next, you’ll create your automated product. Our Beta platform currently offers T-shirts from some great brands (Alternative Apparel, American Apparel, Bella/Canvas, and Gildan). You’ll add your markup (profit), select a start/end date (if you want that), and then design the product, adding images and/or text with our custom designer.
Quick tip: Currently products are not editable once created. We’re going to resolve this, but just a heads up for now. If you want to change or redesign your product after you’ve saved it, you’ll need to create a new SongPage.
So once you’ve designed your product, click Save, and you’re done. You’ll now be prompted to Preview, Publish, or Save for Later.
Once you’re happy with your SongPage and merch item, publish the SongPage, copy the URL, and you’re ready to head over to Topspin’s Artist Link and sell your newly created product on Spotify and Beats Music.
Step 3: Create Offers on Spotify and Beats Music
The final step is the fastest and easiest. You’ll be using Topspin’s ArtistLink to create your offer on Spotify and Beats Music, and link those offers to your SongAmpr Product page(s).
I’m no stranger to Topspin, and I’ve used their services in the past. They are one of the few providers who build very, very good software, and offer impeccable support. I was always very pleased with their services and they do a great job. It’s no surprise that ArtistLink is no different. It took me all of a few minutes to register and create my offers.
So, head over to Topspin’s ArtistLink and create your account. They have a 3-step process which is pretty seamless:
The final step is creating the item to sell on Spotify or Beats Music.
Note: You’ll need to first have your music on the services before you can create an offer. And each service is mutually exclusive. In my case, I only had music on Spotify, so I could only create offers on Spotify. Once my music is on Beats Music, I can then create offers on Beats Music. So if you’re just distributing via Distrokid, you’ll have to wait until it’s on each service before you create the offer. I believe my song was up on Spotify in a few days after distributing. To clarify, I believe you just need to have 1 song or album on either service in order to create an offer.
So creating the offer is a cinch. Enter a merch title, product description, and your SongAmpr SongPage URL.
You’ll also need to upload a product image. To do this, navigate to your SongPage URL, and right click on the product, and click Save As. Then upload that image to your ArtistLink offer, submit, and you’re done.
Quick Tip: Be careful when pasting your SongAmpr URL into the Store URL field in ArtistLink. In my case, it duplicated the http:// which could have rendered the link invalid. I’m sure they’ll fix it or have an automated validation baked in, but just be sure to check the link before you save.
Otherwise, you’re freakin’ done. You can create as many offers as you’d like, and as many products as you’d like. It costs nothing.
You’ve now automated your merch sales on Spotify and Beats Music and you can spend more time on what matters --- making great music.