We7 is a completely legal music based website. It is similar in concept to services such as Spotify in that it is possible for the user to listen to a track of his or her choosing for completely free, with the service being supported and paid for by both audio and visual advertising.
On We7 it is possible to choose one of many songs to listen to. Some of the advantages of We7 over alternative services is there is no need to register (although there is an option to), no specialist software needs to be downloaded and it is possible to create queues of music so that when one track or album ends the next one starts automatically. The first thing which needs to be done is to choose the first song to play.
This is done through the searching option. Whilst typing in a handy box appears which gives suggestions as to what the searcher may be after, as shown in the picture to the right. This is a list of potential artists, albums, songs and other (mainly genre) which include the query typed. Obviously if all that has been typed is 'the' then there are many options, and so the most popular options in each category is shown. The next process depends on whether a song, album, artist or musical genre has been selected.
If a song or album is selected there are three options. The song/album can be played straight away which stops any song which is currently playing and erases the current list of queued songs. Alternatively the option to queue next can be selected, in this case the songs/album will start after the track which is currently being played. Finally there is the option to queue the song last - this will; result in it being played after all the other currently selected songs. Everytime a song or album is selected there are links which relate to similar music by other artists. For example if Maggie May by Rod Stewart is selected, the similar music recommendations includes Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Your Song by Elton John.
If an artist has been selected there are many options which can be selected. Firstly there is the option to play/queue/queue last the top 5 most popular songs by this particular artists. There is also the option to select the top 5 most popular albums by this particular artist. There is also the option of going to the page of similar artists. If the track or album which is wanted is not in the top 5 lists, it is possible to click through to a second page where all of the songs or albums are located. It is possible to rank the search results for ease of use chronologically, alphabetically or by popularity. This means that the desired result can hopefully be found quickly. Once a song or album has been selected it is once again possible to play it straight away or queue it.
The final option is to browse a particular music type. If the dance genre is selcted, there are once again suggestions for the the track, album, and artist based on popularity. In addition there are further suggestions for a more accurate genre suggestion, so for the genre dance the recommendations include trip hop, trance and techno.
The We7 Music Player
A big advantage of We7 is the in browser music player. As it is used within the browser, the majority of people will not need to download any extra software, unlike other services such as Spotify where software needs to be downloaded. Instead, there is a simple music player at the top of the We7 page. With this player it is possible to play and pause tracks, shuffle the queue and play the next/previous tracks in the queue. However, the real bonus with the We7 music player is it continues to play the queued music as long as the We7 website is open in the browser, even whilst continuing to browse the website.
There is a vast majority of tracks available on this service. The company themselves say that there are in excess of 3 million tracks. Not all of these are available to purchase however. In addition, some tracks are preview only. In addition, like all legal digital music retailers there are some artists/tracks which don't appear, of which the most high profile is the back catalogue of The Beatles. However, I have found it to have a very extensive tracklist, with even extremely obscure artists/tracks being included.
Another major advantage of We7 is the ability to create playlists. These are queues of tracks which are saved for listening at a later date. It is also possible to listen to playlists created by other people and organisations, such as the UK Top 40 for a given week. At the present time popular playlists include 'We7 loves the sun', 'Fathers Day Playlist' and 'We7 Glastonbury 2009 Playlist'.
Another advantage with We7 is the exclusives that they have. These are often relatively large artists, such as Jarvis Cocker and Little Boots, and it would be expected that as the website grows further the quantity and quality of such exclusives will continue to grow.
We7 has uses two sets of adverts to support the service. The first are micro audio adverts which are played before every track, and last approximately 5 seconds. There are also visual adverts on the page itself. The two sets of adverts are often linked, and the visual adverts generally change every song in line with the audio adverts. We7 also offer a bonus free advert day after 10 days of using the site. It is interesting to note that many of the adverts are recently along the lines of 'You are listening to We7' or 'We7 - Listen to music on the web for free' which is probably another symptom of the economic downturn affecting advertising revenues. It is also worth noting that I seem to recieve less real adverts and more 'You are listening to We7' when I am logged in.
Extra benefits of registering
It is also possible to register for the site. This allows an extra few benefits. Only registered users are able to create and save playlists (although unregistered users are able to listen to playlists created by others). In addition, only registered users can set up accounts so that they are able to purchase digital copies of any tracks which they enjoy. By registering it is also possible to recieve emails from We7. I recieve emails at a rate of about one a week, and find them very useful as they always include news on the exclusive new tracks available on We7 that week.
We7 has recently added two premium options. For £4.99 per month it is possible to get rid of the adverts when listening through a computer. For £9.99 it is possible to get rid of adverts and get a mobile application. At present this is only available for the Apple iPhone but it is likely that in the future there will be We7 applications for further smart phones operating systems such as Symbian (for Nokia phones), Blackberry and Google's Android. However, I don't have any personal experience of these premium options, either the £4.99 option or the premium option for the Apple iPhone and so I am unable to personally review it but there are many positive reviews on the internet.
It is my personal opinion that We7 is a very useful website for allowing people the chance to listen to music in a completely legal way. In addition, there is no cost for the service, and there is no need to download any software, or even register. I would definitely recommend We7 to anyone who listens to music whilst being on a computer.
- The We7 homepage
Listen to free legal music online on demand (no signup required). Buy high-quality MP3 downloads at low prices.
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