- Amazon Music’s plans to work with musical artists to sell merch represents a new way for musicians to engage with their audiences, enrich the fan experience, and earn much needed ancillary revenue.
- As an early adopter of content commerce, Amazon has benefited greatly from the acceleration of e-commerce as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
- By their very nature, collaborations and co-branding create emotional connections and experiences for consumers.
One of the most significant content-commerce collaborations we saw this week was Amazon Music’s announcement on plans to work with participating musical artists to sell merch via the artist’s pages alongside their songs, albums, livestreams, and music videos, allowing fans to shop for goods directly from the Amazon Music app.
This represents a new way for musicians to engage with their audiences and enrich the fan experience. It also provides much needed ancillary revenue for artists during a time when they have been unable to tour. An artist’s financial success often comes from revenue streams other than streaming or downloads, and musicians rely on live performances and touring for a significant share of income.
By partnering with Amazon, artists can seamlessly tie merch and music together, while fans will be able to shop a genre-spanning selection of merchandise, most of which will be available for Prime shipping for Prime members. Among those who have already signed up are Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, and Gucci Mane, to name just a few.
CollaBrands analysis: Aiming to build audiences through content, Amazon has invested billions of dollars into streaming. According to market and consumer data firm Statista, between 2013 and 2020, the e-commerce giant spent more than $30 billion on acquiring video and music content for Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Music. Incorporating artist merch for sale as part of its services will grow Amazon Music’s audience while helping participating musicians to capitalize on merch sales while live touring is still off-limits. As the OG of e-commerce, Amazon has been among the first and most successful companies in recognizing how content will drive commerce.
Content Driving Commerce
Amazon first introduced an internet video service (known as Amazon Unbox) back in 2006, but added the perk of free access to “unlimited, commercial-free instant streaming” to paying Prime members in 2011. Amazon Music was launched in 2014 and gives Amazon Prime subscribers access to thousands of songs free and without interruptions from advertising. As of January 2021, there are 142 million Amazon Prime members in the United States alone.
Coincidentally, this past September, Amazon announced that it was integrating Amazon Music into its video game streaming service, Twitch, which it purchased in 2014 for $1 billion. That same month, Twitch launched its first luxury collaboration, working with the British brand Burberry to stream its Spring/Summer 2021 runway show from London Fashion Week to the Twitch audience of Gen Z gamers.
Conclusion: Clearly, we can learn a great deal from Amazon’s major investment in and integration of content to drive commerce. As an early adopter of content commerce, Amazon has benefited greatly from the acceleration of e-commerce as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chipotle x e.l.f. Cosmetics
By their very nature, collaborations and co-branding create emotional connections and experiences for consumers. This week, the collaboration that made me smile and take note came from Chipotle and e.l.f. Cosmetics
Yes, we are talking about the fast-casual dining chain collaborating working on a line of limited-edition makeup with a beauty brand, and it’s not the first time. A little over a year ago, Chipotle and e.l.f. launched a collection of primers, blushes and brushes. Coming together once more, the latest effort is centered around a 12-shade eyeshadow palette, with colors inspired by Chipotle’s menu items and ingredients such as guacamole and pinto beans (think earthy greens, neutral tones and a blend of mattes and shimmers). The warmth of each shade aims to replicate the same sense of comfort as enjoying a large burrito, according to the press announcement, and the selection encourages users to customize their own “make-up burrito bowl.”
In addition to the eyeshadow palette, the collaboration also includes several fun “extras”: a “Make It Hot” lip plumping gloss, avocado-shaped make-up sponges, and a cosmetics pouch that looks like the Chipotle paper bag used for tortilla chips. Chipotle also began offering a vegan “Eyes. Chips. Face.” bowl that can be ordered via its app and website.
Those of you who read this column regularly may have noticed an obsession with food and beauty. Admittedly, I am a fan of both, and have focused a good deal of editorial coverage in these two areas. But this brand mashup, while at first seemingly odd, makes perfect sense. Both brands are hugely popular with Gen Z consumers and the collaboration successfully utilizes a color scheme that is both appetizing and visually appealing. You can be assured of more food and beauty collabs to read about in the months to come.
Steven Ekstract is Managing Director of Global Licensing Advisors, a consultancy that provides companies with insight and strategic direction to succeed in the $300 billion a year licensing business. Ekstract is the founder and former Publisher of License Global magazine, the leading information source for the consumer licensing business. He can be reached at Steven@globallicensingadvisors.com.