Peter Gabriel has waded into the digital music waters again, this time with a new Ad-Supported music offering called We7. Unlike services such as Qtrax and Spiral Frog, We7 splices targeted ads onto the start and end of tracks without any DRM, which means lots of viral marketing potential for advertisers. Of course that model means that We7 is not about to find itself replete with major label but that’s not actually what they’re trying to do: they’re playing up their ability to target niches and to provide income for artists.
We7 is another example of the innovation which is happening at the fringes of digital music. The iTunes model clearly works, but it’s by no means the end of the story. Various different flavours of ad-supported services are illustrative of the recognition that there is much room for alternatives. And more pertinently, alternatives which evolve around and in response to emerging consumer behaviour rather than just trying to recreate the CD online.