We7, the UK music streaming service, has announced that its catalog now exceeds 6.5 million tracks. That in itself may not seem like such a big deal but consider this: at the same time last year, the music platform, which competes with the likes of Spotify, had around 3m tracks, under half of what is available today. Go back another year and a half and you’ll find that We7 didn’t have a single major label on-board so it shows how far things have come.
It’s also worth remembering that We7, which is backed by Peter Gabriel, Eden Ventures, and Spark Ventures, didn’t start out with a streaming model, although it was a pioneer in ad-supported music. Its original offering focused on downloads, with each MP3 containing the ad itself. After a set duration and, therefore, number of ad impressions, users could re-download a clean and ad-free version of the song. Back then users were very accustomed to ‘owning’ their music and so it seemed like the right way to go.
However, perhaps hoping to lower the barrier of entry for users, and with the advent of more ubiquitous Internet connections, or the difficulty in persuading the majors to jump on-board with such an innovative and, perhaps controversial model, We7 gradually shifted to ad-supported streaming via a web browser. And this was before Spotify had launched, let alone gathered mind-share. With that shift came the content deals that the service needed and here we are today, with that 6.5m strong catalog and We7 claiming 3 million users.
The service also operates a premium model as an alternative to ad-supported streams, which removes the ads for the desktop web version, and offers mobile access via an iPhone app, with an Android version currently in Beta.