Thursday, November 13, 2008

We7-Peter Gabriel's New Streaming Site

Albums and songs can be streamed in full on the new site,, which was co-founded by Peter Gabriel. Being that it comes from a musician, the artists will get paid if their music is streamed. It's akin to Internet radio, but on demand. Artists (or their labels) get paid via an advertising based model. In theory it sounds great. There are so many artists I'd love to hear what they or their latest record sounds like. is a great place to stream a new record, but the choices are limited.

I did a search of artists that ranged from the classic to the obscure and here are results
  • Beach Boys delivered a bunch of karaoke versions of their songs.
  • Brian Wilson had similar results.
  • Boz Scaggs-no results.
  • James Morrison -asks if I mean Van Morrison.
  • Florence and the Machine-no results.
  • Kings of Leon-no results.
  • Black Eyed Peas -karaoke versions.
  • My Morning Jacket-no results.
  • Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood -karaoke versions
  • The most perplexing of all is Peter Gabriel yielding a karaoke version of Sledgehammer.
According to the article in NME, the site contains millions of tracks including those from Nickelback. I search Nickelback and karaoke tracks tracks were listed. Thievery Corporation was on the homepage, so I clicked and was able to listen to a track. The list of recommendations of other artists that sound like TC was headed by Zero 7, so I clicked on the link. It brought to a page that had other recommendations, a link to their bio, a button to share or join an email list. There was also a bar that measured the popularity of the band. I'm not sure how they determine that or what it actually means. Bottom Line: I couldn't find a Zero 7 track to listen to. Why would they recommend it, if it's not available to stream? I'm not a neophyte when it comes to the web. My experience on We7 has been frustrating and unproductive. If someone has had a great user experience on the site, I would love to hear from you.


  1. Anonymous12:17 PM

    Every single one of those artists is there except florence and the machine (??).

    Here is a Box Scaggs track.

    nor was it hard to find. Top right. Search the name. And there it is.

  2. Thanks for the link. It does retrieve a Boz Scaggs song, which I can play. I'm not the only one having these problems. It's not stated on the site, but I'm guessing you have to register with your email address in order for the search to work.

  3. i had a similar experience. but, I guess it's new and needs a bit more work. I don't understand why they changed their focus from downloads to streams though.

  4. also, have you seen Kerchoonz or Qtrax these are two new sites. Qtrax is more major label music though. kerchoonz is brand new and it beta only a few days and I joined to check it out. It looks cool. I think the ideas of all these sites are good and we will all need to be patient and watch them. It's really great that the music industry is beginning to understand that free music is a great way to go.

  5. Hi Paula,

    I'm one of the developers at We7, so thanks for the interest in our site. I'm sorry to hear about your frustration, so want to try and explain why you've had problems.

    We're currently focused on the UK, so the vast majority of our catalogue is available only for users in this region. I guess that you're in the US, where we're only licensed for a tiny fraction of our music. Our search will only return songs that are available in your territory, so unfortunately, those in the US won't see results for Boz Scaggs, and many others. The previous commenter who had no trouble finding those artists is likely to be in the UK. Oh, and it's not that I'm trying to disappoint you, but, if you are outside the UK then you're only getting a 30 second preview, not the whole track, when using the direct link he posted.

    We do plan to extend our licenses to more territories, and eventually hope to offer all of our music for download as well as for streaming. At the moment the economics for this are unproven. The focus on streaming is simply because this model is better understood by artists, labels and advertisers, and so the rate at which we can expand the streaming catalogue is far greater than for downloads. The focus on the UK is so that we can concentrate on proving the model locally, where we have good music and advertising contacts, before looking further afield. The music that was downloadable is still downloadable (though only in the UK), and we continue to add to it - it's just that it has been overshadowed by all the great new streaming content.

    One last thing: registering on the site won't improve your search results. In the short term, the best way to see the full catalogue is to hop on a plane to London!