YouTube has long been a friend to independent musicians and bands trying to build an audience, and now it can help them raise money through merchandising, as well.
The video sharing site has announced a new feature called the Merch Store, which lets YouTube partners sell merchandise to their fans. They can list song downloads, clothing, tickets, a meeting with the band, and more.
YouTube isn’t selling the goods directly. Instead, it partnered with sites like Topspin (for clothing and other merchandise), Apple and Amazon (for song downloads), and Songkick (for concerts).
Artists who want to take part will need to become YouTube partners first. YouTube wrote on its blog  that becoming a partner is now easier than before.
The page you’ll need is called Content Identification Application , and the purpose is to prove to YouTube that you own the copyright for the material you’re uploading. Once that’s cleared, you’ll be able to serve ads on your videos and sell merchandise.
If you don’t get access to the Merch Store immediately, don’t despair: YouTube is rolling out access to the store gradually over the coming weeks. Prepare your posters and t-shirts, and eventually you’ll get a chance.
By the way, if you’re in the New York City area, YouTube is hosting a panel discussion with artists who have advanced their careers using the site. Go to the Mercury Lounge October 20 at noon ET to listen in.