Innovation That Matters

Fighting piracy with free love

Publishing & Media

Backed by musician Peter Gabriel, British We7 is offering consumers free songs tagged with 10-second advertisements, which are played before the music track starts. Four weeks after downloading, We7 gives the user the option of downloading an ad-free, DRM-free version. Which makes for free music without piracy. We7 is currently in beta and hasn’t signed up any major labels. The venture is currently working with independent record labels, featuring artists such as Youssou N’Dour, the Dave Matthews Band and Hall & Oates. (A similar service is SpiralFrog, scheduled to launch in Canada and the US later this year.) In theory, it’s a win-win-win: consumers get free songs without pangs of guilt for stealing from artists, artists are paid for their music, and advertisers get the opportunity to “Intimately whisper into the ears of their targeted audience like never before”, as We7 puts it. To make the concept work, We7 will need to sign up more top artists and hot up-and-coming ones. Still, it’s yet another interesting example of what our sister site dubbed free love, the practice of offering consumers free products and services, sponsored by advertising. Related free love concepts include free snail mail, free photocopies for students and free phone calls for teenagers. Spotted by: Bill McMahon



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