Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Free Music Downloads at We7

Here's a legitimate, safe and legal way to download free music from the Internet, using the same concept Google made famous, ad-supported. We7, a UK based website, delivers free music downloads without any DRM, so users can play the tracks for free, when and how they like, and even share DRM-free music legally with friends. All with the small price of hearing an audio advertising message for up to 10 seconds or less on the tracks that are downloaded for free.

If the business model of We7 can succeed, it's not short of a digital music revolution, which currently is haunted by a high degree of online piracy. Money spent on online music stores such as iTunes, Rhapsody, BuyMusic, MusicMatch, Urge, Sony Connect, Zune Marketplace, Urge, Emusic and Walmart Music can be saved.

Backed by musician Peter Gabriel, British We7 works by offering consumers free music downloads tagged with 10-second advertisements, which are played before the music starts. Four weeks after downloading, We7 users have the option to download up to 20 favorite tracks with the advertisements removed for free. All tracks, whether purchased or free, are DRM free. Artists and singers in turn will get their share of earnings, paid for by We7 from the advertisement revenue. So essentially users will get free music, ad-free and DRM-free without involving piracy.

We7 is currently in beta and hasn't signed any major labels. The venture is currently working with independent record labels, featuring artists such as Youssou N'Dour, Public Symphony, Capercaillie, Jon Christos, Diana Galvydyte and Jakob Fichert, Afro Celt Sound System, Big Strides, the Dave Matthews Band and Hall & Oates. This may be one of the Achilles heel of We7. To be successful, more music from top artists and hot up-and-coming songs are needed.

For those who love a particular track, but don't want the advertisements, they can purchase the track directly, which comes in a higher bitrate.

To get your free music downloads, simply add the song to your playlist, and then download the free MP3 from there. You can also download your playlist as a podcast (RSS feed).

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