With the Beats Music launch just moments away (in the US anyways), Spotify has wisely announced a feature to their service that should have been in place a long time ago… artists can now sell merchandise on the service.
I'm not going to go into details about how to get it setup or how it works —as I haven't done it yet and Spotify has it pretty well explained over here— I just thought I'd post about it as seems like a pretty notable step in the right direction. Of course, this also came on the heels of Spotify (and Rdio) getting rid of their listening limits for non-paying, ad-supported users… so I imagine the debate about whether streaming services are killing the indie musician will continue to rage on (although, this ‘merch move’ surely has to cut them a little bit of slack).
As for me, I'm still sticking to my 'unsubscribed status' from a couple months back (a decision which has been made easier for the listener side of me now that I'm not limited to 10 hours a month). I think this merch thing is undoubtedly a good thing (it should also be noted that there is apparently no fees or commission on the sales, so that's pretty hard to frown upon) and it will be interesting to see how many Spotify users will also buy merch directly from the service.
I imagine I'll just continue to keep my online music purchases to the almost ‘100% on Bandcamp’ level that it is at now (it will take a little bit more from the Spotify's of the world to kill my enthusiasm for buying music on Bandcamp), but still… streaming isn't going anywhere, so whenever something is announced that makes the concept a little bit better for artists —and better for listeners too… although listeners already have it pretty sweet— you gotta stop and acknowledge it as step in the right direction.
So if your music is on Spotify, I highly recommend you get some merch on there and see if anything comes of it. It doesn't seem to cost anything to get set up, so you don't really have anything to lose.
PS - if anyone reading this has gone through the setup process, feel free to leave some comments below about the process and what you think about all this.