Should have told you about this earlier … musician Peter Gabriel has teamed with technology entrepreneur Steve Purdham and VC John Taysom to launch Oxford, UK -basedWe7, an ad-supported music download platform. Ten-second ads targeted by various demos are grafted to the front of tracks and albums, allowing advertising to reach users offline. (The proprietary technology is called MediaGrat.)The ads remain “glued” for four weeks.
All music is DRM free and can be played or shared on any MP3 device. According to the company, after sharing, the ads changed to match the customer. Revenue from the ads will be used to pay license fees. Purdham, who founded SurfControl plc, is CEO. Taysom founded the Reuters Greenhouse Fund. This isn’t Gabriel’s first music outing. He funded and launched OD2; it was sold to Loudeye, which in turn sold it to Nokia last year. Release.
First look: The registration process gives a hint of how ads will be targeted: mandatory fields include gender, year of birth and zip code. Service is limited now to sample downloads; artists include Dave Matthews, Herbie Hancock, Hall & Oates, Coolio. Oddly, no Peter Gabriel. The full community site is due for launch this summer. The company is counting on momentum to increase its catalog.
— The downloaded songs start with a promo for We7 as a placeholder for ads. This works in theory — listening to one ad is ok — but could get tedious in a playlist.