Sony BMG tracks go live on We7 via advertising

Over 500,000 tracks from Sony BMG goes live on We7’s site today, following their first deal with the major label in March. Sony BMG manages act including Take That, Mark Ronson, The Hoosiers and Leona Lewis. We7 gives fans access to music for free by grafting a short audio advert onto the front of each track, with revenue going to artists and labels. Due to a registration system, We7 builds a profile of each individual user, so one user does not hear the same advert as another. The technology allows for the ad to be removed after a set number of listens, or an amount of elapsed time. Versions of the tracks without music can also be purchased out-right. Because the business model is ad-supported, file sharing of We7 tracks is actually encouraged. Steve Purdham, We7 co-founder and CEO, believes that in an iTunes world, only a small percentage of tracks are actually bought, whereas ads can monetise tracks no-one would normally pay for. I believe We7 is just one of the new wave of business models that will change the music industry beyond the old model.

We7 took $6 million in a Series A round led by musician Peter Gabriel and Spark Ventures, with Eden Ventures also participating. Gabriel is also founder of TheFilter.