updated 12:22 pm EST, Mon January 20, 2014
Merchandise marketing through Spotify could help appease royalty critics
Spotify is allowing artists to promote and sell their merchandise through the streaming service for the first time. Band t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise will be offered to Spotify users through the artist's page in the software itself, in what could be considered an olive branch from Spotify to Artists over reportedly-low royalty payments to music makers.
The scheme rolled out by Spotify involves artists signing up to a Topspin account, and linking it to the relevant artist's social media accounts or e-mailing Topspin in order to confirm the account is genuine, according to the Spotify blog. Up to three items can be listed on the Spotify page at any one time, with users taken to the artist's store in order to complete the purchase itself.
So far, items offered will be shown to Spotify users in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland, though the nationality of the artist bears no relation to where items are displayed. Unusually, the service will be free for artists, with neither Spotify nor Topspin taking any fees or commissions from purchases.
The addition of merchandise sales will likely benefit artists, though it is still a far cry from appeasing critics of the current royalties system. Radiohead lead Thom Yorke pulled all his solo material from Spotify last year, in protest over the apparently low royalty rates. Spotify has since defended the model, revealing it to have paid out over $1 billion to-date, including $500 million in 2013 alone.