Music streaming companies are pulling out all the stops lately, whether to pre-empt tomorrow’s launch of the much-hyped Beats Music service or to stay ahead of the intense competition. This includes Spotify, which announced today a partnership with Topspin that allows artists to list their merchandise on Spotify for free.
Artists can now list their T-shirts, posters, and other merchandise on their Spotify page. When fans click the “Buy” button, they will be sent to the artist’s online store to buy the merchandise. Neither Spotify nor Topspin will charge artists any fees for this feature.
Spotify has been looking to improve its relations with artists, and this move may help. Music streaming services in general, and Spotify specifically, have come under attack for allegedly paying measly royalties to artists. However, by helping artists sell merchandise Spotify is showing that they understand artists increasingly rely on concerts and merchandise for revenue.
At the same time, music streaming services are under increasingly strong competition, and they are all struggling to make a profit. Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, and iTunes Radio are all trying to emerge as the go-to music streaming service, and new players — such as Beats Music, Whyd, and France-based Deezer — are emerging every few weeks.
In the face of this competition, Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio have each announced new features in the past week. Pandora added personalized station recommendations to their mobile apps, Rdio began offering free streaming on the web, and Spotify lifted its listening limit on free web streaming.