However fewer people than expected sign up for paid Spotify accounts

Online music service Spotify is to sell users downloads of songs in its six-million track catalogue.

The application, which allows users to listen to an unlimited amount of streamed songs for free, has signed a deal to sell downloads with online music provider 7digital.

It means that Spotify will become a direct rival to iTunes, as both services sell downloads.

Initially, users in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain will be given the option to buy Spotify tracks, although the move is expected to be rolled out in other European countries in the near future, reports BBC News.

The move comes after Spotify found that far fewer people than expected are signing up for paid premium accounts on the service, according to Mark Mulligan, technology analyst at Forrester Research.

“It [Spotify] went into this thinking it was going to be a premium subscription business,” he said. “The problem is what’s proven to be the successful part is the free bit.”

Premium Spotify subscriptions cost £9.99 per month in the UK, and give users an advert-free service.