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Spotify launches merchandise feature, lets artists sell from profile page

Spotify is expanding its service with a move into the merchandise game after partnering with entertainment marketing company Topspin.

The music-streaming service has become the first of its kind to offer in-app merchandise listings to music fans, giving musicians another way to sell their T-shirts, vinyl, posters, tickets, stickers and other band-related goodies.

And the good news for artists is that there are zero fees or commissions from either Spotify or Topspin – all they have to do is create a Topspin account, which also costs nothing.

“This approach will allow fans to see and buy new items from their favorite artists while providing artists a valuable new channel to advertise their Topspin merch offers,” Spotify said recently when it first announced the move. “Any artist will be able to easily upload and display merch on Spotify (linking to their own merch store) using Topspin’s proven tools, and best of all, we’ll be offering this service for free.”

Artists can sell their stuff right from their profile page, although currently they can only offer a maximum of three items at a time.

Although Spotify’s music-streaming service is available in over 50 countries, this new merchandise feature is presently only showing for Spotify users located in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland, though this of course could change over time.

Spotify will be hoping that by offering the commission-free merchandising opportunity, more bands will be encouraged to sign up to include their music on its service, which has come in for criticism in some quarters for its low royalty payments of between $0.006 and $0.0084 per stream.

One famous critic of the music-streaming platform is Radiohead and Atoms for Peace frontman Thom Yorke, who removed some of his music from Spotify last summer soon after tweeting, “Make no mistake, new artists you discover on Spotify will not get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly be rolling in it. Simples.”

Spotify has maintained that while the per-stream payment may seem low, an artist with a big hit can still make a decent amount of money from a popular track, an amount that should increase as Spotify continues to build its user base.

The launch of Spotify’s merchandise offer comes as a new player – Beats Music – is about to step into the highly competitive music-streaming space. Tuesday’s launch of the much-hyped service has recently pushed the likes of Spotify and Rdio into offering new features including unlimited free streaming for Web users.

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