October 17, 2011, 2:03 PM

YouTube’s e-commerce push

YouTube will enable musicians to sell tickets, songs and other products on the Merch Store.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

YouTube plans to launch in the coming weeks a feature called the Merch Store, where musicians and record labels can sell tickets, merchandise and music on YouTube.com.

“With 800 million people per month coming to YouTube, you have a pretty big stage to share your music, and now we’re adding features to also make YouTube your box office, merchandise table and music store,” writes Christian Weitenberner, YouTube’s senior technical account manager, in a blog post.

Google Inc., which owns the video streaming service, says it is working with companies such as retail software platform Topspin, concert tracking service Songkick, as well as Apple Inc.’s iTunes online music store and Amazon to offer the features. YouTube’s Merch Store will enable shoppers to buy music from iTunes and Amazon’s music service.  Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Apple is No. 3.

Google is likely working with other companies to hasten the introduction of the Merch Store, says Greg Sterling, founder of Sterling Market Intelligence. “It’s easier to use the infrastructure these companies have already built,” he says.

If parent company Google launches its own digital music store, as rumored, Sterling believes YouTube will likely plug that offering alongside the offerings from Apple and Amazon. “They’d rather have a more complete offering than something narrower,” he says. “I think they are trying to give consumers a broad range of choices.”

The Merch Store is Google’s latest attempt to mine revenue from YouTube’s stream of web traffic. For instance, YouTube in May begun offering online consumers the chance to rent movies and stream them via YouTube.


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