Sony BMG has signed a licensing deal with ad-funded music download service We7 that will see its back catalogue made available to stream online. It is the first major label to sign up with the service, set up by musician Peter Gabriel.
We7 claims to be the first free and legal service of its kind in Europe. It works by grafting ads onto the start of music tracks. The ads are targeted according to the consumers age, location and gender – making it different to similar services such as Imeem.
The on-demand streaming service will launch in the UK at the end of April
Gabriel says: “We7 is a model that will supply free music to the consumer and still provide a stream of revenue musicians and content owners.”
We7 co-founder Steve Purdham believes the ad-funded model marks a “significant leap” forward and benefits fans, artists and advertisers.
Ged Doherty, chairman of Sony BMG (UK & Ireland) says the deal offers fans greater flexibility in how they consume music.
The launch comes just over a month after the launch of a similar service, called Qtrax, which was blown off course after it announced its launch before deals with record labels had been agreed (MW.co.uk, January 29). It is still thought to be in talks with labels.