Ink Drop /

Instagram is one of the key social platforms for many musicians, and we’ve been following the Facebook subsidiary’s experiments with shopping features with keen interest. Could Instagram and other social apps be powerful new drivers of merchandise sales, particularly while the live music industry gets slowly back on its feet in many parts of the world?

Here’s a partnership that may help to answer that question. Merchbar, one of the popular online merch platforms, is working with Instagram to bring its shopping features to musicians and labels. It’s starting with more than 4,300 artists, who’ll be able to add merch to their Instagram posts, stories, reels and livestreams “by simply adding a product tag”.

Merchbar says it is also working on dedicated shops for artists that live within their Instagram profile and QVC-style live shopping features for musicians, among other features. For now, this is only available to a relatively small subset of musicians using Merchbar – just under 3.5% of its 125,000 clients – but it’s an interesting start.

That’s the wider picture here: Instagram is just one social app and Merchbar just one merch platform. There are already efforts involving partnerships with other companies in those two spaces, and lots more scope for such tie-ups ahead. Merch sales have been hit hard by the lack of live concerts to sell at, but the emergence of social commerce – and specifically its rollout to artists rather than just retailers and brands – holds promise.

Image by Ink Drop /

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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