Ad-supported music download service, We7, launched in May 2007 and in less than six months has become a leading voice in the music download industry as well as attracting over 75,000 regular users, creating a catalogue of 200,000 music tracks (and still growing) and signing advertising deals with key consumer brands such as Xbox, Sony Ericsson and Café Direct.
We7 is an advertising supported music download platform that uses free, legal and safe music downloads as a vehicle to communicate personalised advertising messages, allowing brands to intimately connect with consumers on- and offline.
The We7 service (we7.com) works by dynamically 'grafting' ads onto the front of music tracks and albums based on a consumer's demographics such as location, age, gender and can even be extended to preferences. This allows advertisers to intimately engage with consumers ‘off web’ as they listen to the ad-embedded downloads.
Rock Musician and Digital entrepreneur Peter Gabriel. Has a proven track record with music technology projects, after funding and launching OD2, the digital service provider, in 1999 OD2 was sold to Loudeye which in turn was sold to Nokia last year.
Technology entrepreneur Steve Purdham. Founded and built global technology companies, such as SurfControl plc, which was worth £1bn at its peak valuation.
Financial investor John Taysom. Founded the Reuters Greenhouse Fund in California and his investment track record also includes a number of successful technology ventures including Yahoo! Verisign, and Advertising.com. We7 is John’s original idea.
Technical Whizzkid Gareth Reakes. Web 2.0 Guru, Vice President of Apache, member of the XML committee, first class honours from Oxford and a finalist in the 'Up and Coming Entrepreneur' of the Martin & Audrey Wood Enterprise Awards.
We7 needed to create a brand, customer and supplier base in a dynamic and complicated market, whilst also educating three audiences - consumers, marketers and the music industry.
· Music industry
· Branding – Create brand awareness and buzz
· Unique – Explain why this is a unique offering
· Educate – Deliver clear messaging on the new system and lessen confusion
· Thought leadership – Position We7 as the voice of authority on ad-supported downloads
· Niche audience – Engage web-savvy early adopters to spread the message
· Integration - Online and offline coverage, news outreach and speaker opps from Sunday Times interviews to key blog engagement such as Wired.com
· Thought leadership - CEO Steve Purdham engaged in everything from speaker opps to online forums positioning We7 as an expert
· Education - Online activity engaged with users and corrected misinformation rather than actively promote the site
· Integration – On and offline results used to support one another
· News creation – Celebrating landmarks for We7 e.g.: Sanctuary records deal, signs Xbox as advertiser
· Speaker opps –On and offline – Hyde Park Calling press conference to Wired blog interview
· News hijacking – Proactive response to news stories, artist reunions, industry debates
· Blogosphere engagement – Weekly interaction with relevant audiences and creation of a MySpace profile
· Profiling and media briefings– For Peter Gabriel and Steve Purdham
· Users: Attracted 75,000 registrations
· Downloads: Provided 1 million tracks to fans for free
· Library: Compiled a library of 200,000 audio tracks
· Record labels: Signed with several including Sanctuary and V2
· Advertisers: Worked with advertisers including Café Direct, Sony Ericsson and Xbox
Founder, Peter Gabriel: "We7 provides artists - even across the more experimental or minority genres - with the opportunity to build a new source of income from their music. Ad funded downloads are the way to provide free music to the consumer without depriving musicians of their livelihood."
Founder, Steve Purdham: “We7 offers a platform to entertain and engage, benefiting both the consumer and the advertiser. Our advertising model creates an entirely new category of highly targeted, high value, advertising inventory, combining all the benefits of an engaging broadcast campaign with the speed and effectiveness of digital.”
Music Press: Chris Barrett, Music Week: "The thing that sets We7 apart is that it not only offers DRM –free MP3 format but utilises a new technology called MediaGraft that enables advertising to be tailored to each consumers demographic, location and pre-stated preferences."
Advertisers: Radio Blogilvy (Ogilvy agency blog): “The platform, We7, uses free music downloads as a vehicle to communicate personalised advertising messages, allowing brands to intimately connect with consumers on- and offline.”
Analysts: Jupiter Research Blogs: “We7 is another example of the innovation which is happening at the fringes of digital music”
Users: Gizmodo.com: "A month for the song ad free? Honestly, this is fair. I get bombarded with ads everyday; might as well get something back."
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