We7 is a UK-based online music service that offers consumers free, ad-supported music. The ads are shown in the form of banners and buttons on the site’s pages (approximately two ads per page). However, We7 also offers some unique forms of audio advertising with each download track from its library. When a user chooses a song and downloads it to their PC, We7 inserts an audio advertisement right before the actual song. So when the user goes to play that song, they must first hear an audio advertisement before the song plays. This advertisement disappears in 4 months but for 4 months, you have to listen to this annoying audio ad every time you go to listen to your track.
Now mind you, I am a fan of free ad-supported music but come on. Hearing an audio advertisement when I am entertaining friends at home or when I have music blasting loud in my truck is not cool. However, that’s the price they charge for free music so you can either pay a small fee (99 pence) for the track, or endure the ad from the free download. The decision is yours.
As far as the service goes, I am not a big UK music fan as I am not from the UK but it seems like they don’t have a lot of the major label music a UK music fan would expect. You can stream 30-second clips of the songs without registering but before you can download the song or album or buy it, you music register for a free account. They offer the basic send to a friend and add to playlist options which are not very special in terms of functionality. There is not a lot of community or recommendations on the site so it’s not for those that don’t know exactly what they are looking for. You can rate music on a 5-star system but it seems like the ratings can be manipulated as I saw one artist in most of the top spots on their music charts.
From an advertiser perspective, it seems like they have not gotten any traction with their audio ads. Every song I downloaded had a We7 house advertisement and not once did I see a third party advertiser.
All in all, the service seems like they don’t have music quality content (or any content for that matter). These guys offer free music so it will always be compelling to those that don’t want to pay, however the question becomes are you willing to listen to an audio advertisement before you r song plays or just buy the song as you normally (or illegally download the song from your favorite P2P service). Time will tell what consumers think about audio ads.