Peter Gabriel is a human-rights champion, a global entrepreneur and a technology aficionado, not to mention the owner of lots of prized (and copyrighted) content, so it's not surprising that he's drawn to that cruel mistress, online music downloading. In search of fairness, Gabriel's company We7 has launched an ad-supported free-download model, or, as they themselves put it:
With a passionate team, a breathtaking vision and the 'pat.pending' technology to 'graft' relevant advertising/messages to music and video downloads, we're all set to create a music download revolution.
Jump for details and, oh yes, free samples.
I thought graft was for politicians and burn victims, but it also means 10 seconds of sponsorship at the beginning of every DRM-free 128-kilobit MP3, according to The Register. The report added that advertisers would pay We7 what sounds like an unreasonable £0.30 to £0.60 per download (that is, up to $1.20 per song) and that listeners could earn the right to skip the ad after listening to it a few times. How many times, exactly? Three, four or five.
While it's unclear what kind of label support We7 has, the site has posted free samples, including tracks from Coolio, Dave Matthews Band and Hall & Oates, though not, strangely enough, from Mr. Gabriel himself. All songs are tagged with 10-second We7 promos. They're not so bad. In fact they sound like radio station identifications. But let's face it, if advertisers are really going to cover your $1 per song, they will most likely craft 10-second ads that hit you like a sledgehammer.