Sony BMG Music entertainment, one of the big major music labels, has agreed to partner with We7, an online service which wants to stream music to UK listeners for free and receive a cut of advertising, a concept that has been made popular by traditional radio.
We7, which received a £3 million cash injection, was setup by ex-Genesis member and frontman, Peter Gabriel and works by adding short and most importantly, relevant adverts at the beginning of music tracks, based on parameters such as location, age and gender.
The service is currently limited to existing users and will be opened to new members later this year. New listeners will have to register as members first before being given free music.
More than 250,000 tracks will be available by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Westlife and the Foo fighters and this number could climb up to one million tracks if other record labels agree to license their music.
"We are in the business of embracing a multitude of new ways our music can reach audiences. Our deal with We7 is an important step forward in offering fans greater flexibility in how they consume music.” said Ged Doherty, chairman and chief executive of SonyBMG in UK and Ireland.
“Today marks a significant leap forward for We7 and the industry as a whole, as Sony BMG lead the way in embracing the on-demand streaming model for the benefit of music fans, artists and advertisers alike.” added Steve Purdham. Co-founder and CEO of We7.
Update (15/7/13): We7 is now Blinkbox.