Monday, April 30, 2007

Peter Gabriel has opened We7, an online music store that will give away free music tracks, DRM-free, with ten-second commercials attached. After four weeks, you can re-download the track, but without the commercial. While I'm not wildly crazy about the idea, it's not terrible. If it has a good selection (which I doubt it will), or at least a good interface that helps you find good music amongst the obscure offerings, it might be a nice, free way to discover new artists. I just can't imagine the ad revenue will be substantial enough to make this worth the time of any working musicians. Especially since it would be pretty easy to remove or bypass the commercial from a DRM-free file. Just tell iTunes to start playing the file at the ten-second mark; you don't even need to edit the file. But if the commercial's not obnoxious, and you have a commercial-free file coming in a few weeks, maybe users won't bother to skip it. I'm skeptical this will work out as a viable business, but I'll give it a shot when it goes live.

UPDATE: Apparently, We7 expects to make about $1.20 per download in advertising fees. This number strikes me as absurd, but I don't pretend to be an expert in advertising. I also see that there are some sample songs already available, if you register for the site; when I get home, I'll download me some Coolio or Bananarama and let you know how the experience goes.

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