We7 - from Butterfly to Caterpillar

Image representing we7 as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseI haven't logged in We7, the music site for over 9 months but was prompted to today when I received an email from the service advising that they were dramatically changing their model.

Their initial offering worked as follows
The economics were simple - advertisers got to directly place their message at a targeted audience, assured that their ads couldn't be avoided; artists got paid; customers got free music with the minor inconvenience of hearing ads for a short time.

Evidently their dealings with the large record labels has forced a re-working of the service with the consequence that the site emphasis is now on free streaming of specific tracks you choose, with adverts appended.
Only a small proportion of tracks appear to be available for download and this seems to excludes recent releases from major artists.

This is a dramatic reversal of approach, which I think is a retrograde move, and whilst always being online to access streamed content is increasingly possible thanks to a combination of broadband and "all you can eat" mobile data plans, there remains a large proportion of the population who
Where I do see that We7 has the edge over services like Finetune, Pandora and Last.fm, which are similar streaming services, is that you actually get to select the songs that you want to listen to in full, rather than samples or "stations". Whilst We7 lacks the "discovery" element that something like Pandora offers, the ability to listen to any track for free online means that exploring new tracks and artists isn't impeded in anyway. Of course, if you live outside of the US, you are presently barred from directly listening to Pandora thanks to licensing restrictions.

If you spend much time online or have unlimited broadband access at home and enjoy listening to music, I think that We7 is definitely worth adding to your bookmarks. Meantime, I hope they will be able to find a way for their original model to re-emerge.
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