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28 avril 2008

We7 Adds Sony/BMG Tracks to Free U.K. Music Service

We7, a Peter Gabriel-backed online music service that launched about a year ago, will offer 500,000 songs from Sony/BMG for free streaming on its site. Along with indie labels and bands who have licensed their songs, this brings the total number of tracks available on the free music service to around 750,000.

However, as we just confirmed with a We7 spokeswoman, the company's license is currently limited to the United Kingdom. None of these new tracks are currently available stateside, but if Sony/BMG likes the way the service works in overseas, that could change within a few months.

All songs on We7 can be streamed for free with a 10-second ad in front of them. Some tracks (but not Sony/BMG's) can also be downloaded in the MP3 format for free with an ad appended to the beginning of the song or for a fee -- $1.40 in today's weak dollar.

Steve Purdham, co-founder and CEO of We7, said his company lets people pay for free music with their time. "To date, music fans have really only had two choices to get the music how they want it -- buy or steal," he said. "Today we're changing that by putting the fans and artists first to deliver a fresh new alternative. Simply fans get the music they want and now have the choice of paying with their money or paying with a small amount of their time. So everybody is happy."

We're not happy yet because, as mentioned above, the new Sony/BMG content is not available to U.S. users. Assuming Sony/BMG's experiment goes well and the other labels sign on to a U.S. version of the service, We7 could could become a DRM-free alternative to SpiralFrog.

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