Spotify has made a major improvement to its music buying feature this week, introducing a clear Buy button next to tunes in your playlists, or a 'Buy Album button' below the cover artwork on albums.

The timing of the MP3-purchasing upgrade is significant, what with Sky set to introduce its own music streaming and download service, Sky Songs, next week.

When you hit the Buy button on Spotify it opens up a window within Spotify itself to let you buy the MP3 of the tune, which you can then choose to either play within Spotify or, being DRM-free, on any digital music player you so wish.

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In summary, Spotify's MP3-buying improvements include:

* Buy without leaving Spotify: previously users needed to complete a number of steps before being directed to purchase music from our download partner 7digital's site. They've made this a lot simpler - you can now own a song in a few clicks from within Spotify.

* Better visibility: up till now, users had to right-click on a track/album to discover if the music was available to buy. Users can now see exactly what music is available, with special little 'buy' buttons now visible either underneath the album cover or next to a particular track.

* Playable within Spotify: all Spotify MP3 purchases are now available to play on the service - check out the 'Purchases' button on the Spotify sidebar - and of course can be transferred to any other MP3 player, program or burnt to a CD.

Via Spotify blog

You can see a video demo of the new features right here: