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Do you get your music for free?

Russell Chadwick from We7 explains why ad-funded music is a better option than the pirate sites

Published on June 1st 2009.

Do you get your music for free?

Illegal file-sharing has made headlines in the US where families have been charged thousands of dollars in lawsuits brought against them by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). The situation isn't as serious here yet, but with Lord Carter set to release his draft on Digital Britain this summer, that could change.

Once reserved for nerds and technical geeks, file-sharing has grown massively in recent years. It's one of the reasons why 95 per cent of UK songwriters earn less than £10k per year for their art – a statistic that has obvious consequences for the state of the UK's celebrated music scene. But few realise that pirate sites can be equally damaging to those who use them to expand their music collection.

If you ask a file-sharer why they use pirate sites, they’ll tell you they don’t have to pay for the music. But when you consider the cost of viruses damaging your PC, the bad quality of files and the fact that you could, in the future, owe thousands to record companies, it doesn’t seem free any more.

Services like Peter Gabriel’s We7 are fast gathering pace as a realistic alternative to piracy. It gives you a virtual jukebox where you can play instantly from a searchable catalogue of over 3.5 million songs from the four major labels and hundreds of indies. And because We7 is web-based, with no need to register, download or install an application, you can access the free music from anywhere.

You can also create your own playlists, or use We7’s own selection which includes the UK Top 40. Users can share all their music with friends via playlists, email and widgets.

Artists and rights owners get paid for each song because We7 funds the rights costs via advertising, so using it is an investment in the UK’s musical talent.

Finally, there is a store where you can download music for your iPod or MP3 player. Most albums on We7 cost under £7 to download, while single tracks vary from £0.48 to £0.88.

What’s the catch to the unlimited free music? There is a short advertising whisper before every track, but once you get into the music, you don’t really notice it. When you compare that against the hidden costs of piracy sites, you can see why ad-funded sites are getting more and more listeners every week.

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brianJune 1st 2009.

EDITORIAL: Brian get in touch would you directly and let's talk see if we can sort out any apparent injustice - Jonathan Schofield, editor, jonathans@planetconfidential.co.uk 0161 228 0044

BenJune 1st 2009.

Ooooh controversial

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