We7 - from Butterfly to Caterpillar Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Image 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
- from their [very limited] catalogue you could legally download tracks for free
- adverts were appended to the downloaded tracks which generated revenue for We7 which was shared with artists. The adverts automatically dissolved after 28 days or so many plays, leaving you with a pristine, legal download for free
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 can now be downloaded, a capability restricted to UK users, and the ads are permanently appended as a pre-roll
- You can save up to 60 tracks per playlist
- Heavy emphasis is on encouraging you to buy tracks via iTunes or direct from We7
- Massively expanded catalogue
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
- are wedded to their mp3 players, most of which lack streaming capability [iPhone being a notable exception] and which We7's restyled offering no longer serves
- don't have unlimited mobile data plans via which to stream music whilst on the move
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.