What is WE7 actually like?

by Giles Turnbull

Given the lively debate round here regarding the buying or renting of music, I thought it was only sensible to try out WE7, the new free music download service backed by none other than Peter Gabriel.

The gimmick is simple: you get your songs for free, in plain old MP3, but each one has a short audio advertisement before the music starts. That’s it.


2007-05-02 10:02:04
I suppose if the ads were all of a constant length, say 10 seconds, it wouldn't be too hard to whip up an applescript that would set the start time of each WE7 track to 10 seconds into the track, bypassing the ad without having to edit or re-encode the track.
Paul Mison
2007-05-02 13:31:43
As Pascal's said, there's an iTunes tag for start time, which might be useful. For a more permanent solution, there's always Fission et al.

I wonder if the T&Cs forbid post-download modification? If they do, how on earth can they enforce it?

2007-05-02 15:11:53
I'm pretty sure that after 4 weeks you can remove the ads. You put it well when describing the music they have available right now..."um, riiight".
2007-05-02 18:15:30
As people have said, without it would be a simple enough task to remove the ads, and using free software too. Of course, I suppose if you are going to go through all the trouble and end up doing something illegal anyways, you might as well just P2P the song. The interweb has a bigger library than WE7.
2007-05-09 04:17:37
I think it should be pointed out that the ad from the beginning of the tracks will disappear in 4 weeks. Just download it, leave it on your comp for 4 weeks and then you'll have a clean, free MP3 without stealing.
2007-05-17 19:16:16
or you could just use audacity and cut out the ad?
2007-06-10 02:56:23
So, no songs from real famous bands or singers e.g My Chemical Romance or Kelis etc?
2007-06-10 02:57:49
When will they come out with good songs from well known bands????????
Tyler Keys
2008-01-01 05:04:47
I think We7 is a great idea. Music won't survive if we don't develop a method to ensure the artists get some form of revenue. If anyone is really that annoyed by a little 10 sec commercial, they're more than welcome to BUY the music.

Although still poor, the selection has improved. It'll take time. Even if it never does succeed in attracting hot artists, it will at least succeed in helping young artists to debut their work and provide them with a modest income.

2008-01-22 06:46:17
I agree with Tyler - giving the music away for free with a short ad is just one way of getting it. Nothing stopping services like WE7 from making premium ad-free offerings as well.

What about visual ads instead of audio ones - something that would play simultaneously with the audio file. Less obtrusive...

phil atherfold
2008-01-27 11:21:51
dont forget its a platform for unsigned artists to put there own music onto the we7 site and a chance to get a small fee back for that track. theres loads of unsigned artists on the site and its nice to hear new music thats not by so called famous artists,so get on we7 chose a genre and check it out,stop being so narrow mided.
2008-02-01 15:17:00
Ervin - the ad doesn't magically disappear after 4 weeks - you have the option to re download upto 20 tracks a month with no ads.
How on earth do you imagine an mp3 file would automatically edit itself?

Anyway - save any messing about and use Fission to chop the ads off - it takes less than 15 seonds per song to drag it to fission, highlight the ad (you can easily see where it begins and ends), remove and resave.

2008-02-01 15:18:42
DONT use audacity to cut it out - use Fission. Audacity re-encodes the track this takes time and you lose quality- Fission just cuts out the bit you select. An idiot would use audacity.
David Muir
2008-02-11 04:14:44
As has already been pointed out, you can download an advert free version after 28 days. The 10 second advert isn't that annoying. Certainly I could live with it - a small price to pay for legal free downloads - but the advert free version available after 28 days means that even that small annoyance will go away.

I'm sold, and although the music choice is still limited, I easily found 60 plus tracks to download straight away. There's more there I want but I'm trying to pace myself. :-) So, sixty tracks, that's say five CDs worth at £5 per CD (minimum) that's easily £25 worth of CDs for the cost of listening to some short adverts for a while - a bargain as far as I'm concerned.

2008-03-09 18:57:26
I've been using We7 since January and have been really impressed with some of the independent artists featured there. So much so that I now have to pick and choose which 20 tracks I want ad-free versions of each month.

I think it's a great system, and I generally don't find the ads intrusive at all (they were on a live album I downloaded, but I made sure to download the ad-free version of that album as soon as it became available). If people can sit through a television program with ads taking up 25% of the time, I don't think a little 10 second ad for every 3-5 minutes of music should be too much to handle. Knowing that it supports the artists directly is also a big positive.

2008-04-28 23:16:28
I have tried using it for a bit and I just don't like it. I don't find it to be the best of designed sites. How effective is advertising anyway? I got an advertisement for a Sony Ericsson phone, does that mean I will go out and buy it? Definitely not after that advert. Like on YouTube they just kept advertising the new Keanu Reaves movie at the bottom of the video, after sees a dozen videos I vowed never to watch that movie...went to see 21 instead lol. What about less obtrusive ads like Google uses? Googles whole business is run on advertising and that is now one of the world's largest companies.
2008-08-06 20:31:46
OK, but when Amazon.uk won't sell to you because you are in Australia, and we7 has the gear you want, (one song) you don't mind paying the 70 p for a download without advertising.