Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek recently blogged that “we’ve admittedly not made it easy for our users to buy music. That’s an area we need to improve”.Well, that improvement didn’t take long – Spotify is going live today with new purchasing features in its desktop application.Music Ally got early access to see how it all works. It’s tied in with Spotify’s existing retail partner 7digital.From today, every track on Spotify that’s also in 7digital’s catalogue will have a clear Buy button next to the track name (see pic above – click to make it larger). Albums will also have a Buy Album button below the cover artwork.Already, this is a step up from the way buying songs previously worked – you had to right-click on a track to see if it was available to buy, before being shunted into your web browser to do the buying.Which is where the second change comes in – clicking on the new Buy buttons doesn’t take you to a website any more: it pops up a window within the Spotify application itself (pic on right – click for larger).You’re shown the quality of the MP3 downloads (256kbps in the case of the Muse album we tested it with), and prompted to enter your credit card details. Once entered and clicked through, the songs start downloading.It’s neat and quick, fitting in nicely with the Spotify application itself, which has always made a virtue of its stripped-down nature. On a PC, the files are saved in the Spotify sub-folder in your Music folder, and since they’re MP3s they can be then imported into iTunes or transferred to any device you like.However, they can also be played within Spotify itself. There’s a new option in the left-hand menu bar – Purchases – which sits with the Home, Radio and Play queue options.Click on that, and you’re taken to a list of all the songs you’ve bought from within Spotify, where you can play them or drag them into playlists. In a comment on this post, Spotify has confirmed that whenever you play these tracks, the downloaded files will be played, rather than streamed.Interestingly, it seems you get three downloads of each – check the little boxes next to the album title in the pic on the right (click to.. oh, you know). So if you’re running Spotify on a couple of PCs and a laptop, say, that could be useful.The feature works only with 7digital for now, and it’s desktop-only – for the moment, there’s still no ability to buy songs from within the Spotify iPhone and Android mobile applications.It’s certainly an example of Spotify delivering on its promise to put more effort into selling music as well as streaming it. The question now is whether this will actually drive sales. A paying subscriber who also has the mobile app isn’t the target, it’s safe to say – especially now they have access to the Spotify app’s new offline mode, where files can be cached locally on their computers.However, it will be intriguing to see if the revamped purchasing helps squeeze more money out of the vast majority of Spotify’s userbase who are on the free ad-supported version. There’s been much debate about whether streaming music cannibalises music sales or stimulates them – improvements like this (and those made by Spotify’s streaming rivals) to make purchasing a more prominent option could have an impact.UPDATE: Spotify has just published a video demo of the new features too, which is embedded below:

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