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I wrote this well over a year ago, and never got round to publishing it.

Well, better late than never. 🙂

You should already be familiar with the information here (it IS a year old, after all), but I’m running it just in case.

This blog actually follows on from Henry Yanney’s blog  post about getting radio for your week.

Superb

Back then I thought I’d point you in the direction of music sites that will make your time on the web infinitely more enjoyable: the superb services delivered by Spotify and we7.

Benefit to the independent artist

Both these services share revenue with labels and aggregators (good news for independent artists as they can get in on the act too. Example: Guvna B and LZ7 on we7, Victizzle on we7, and Jay Ess on we7).

That means the service can legally stream the music for ‘free’, in the hope that they can make their money back, potentially through advertising.

Business insiders suggest advertising revenue alone cannot sustain the business model for long, but we’ll have to wait and see on that.

Getting the music you want – in high quality

In the meantime listeners get the music they want either on the site (we7) or in the player (Spotify).

Bit rate is high-quality (I think Spotify is 128k, but we7 is a luscious 192 kps), providing a superb listening experience…

So, here’s a very brief breakdown

Spotify

I’ve mentioned Spotify before.  It’s absolutely amazing, and it’s gotten even better over the past year.

  • Concept: think of Spotify as a free, legal, iTunes-esque service: download their application to your PC (quite small – I think it was only a few megabytes when I set mine up), and play music. Two minutes after I downloaded the file, I was up and running.  It’s that easy
  • Download: Like iTunes, you even have the option to play your own MP3 files within the Spotify player.  All the other music is P2P streamed.
  • Purchase: if you like the sound of something, there are purchase links.
  • Catalogue: their music catalogue is quite deep too – I’ve seen stuff from the 60s to Jazz to 80s rare groove to Top 40 Pop stuff.  If you’ve been after that hard-to-find, possibly deleted classic, then it’s a good place to start.
  • And yes, there’s a huge range of Christian music on there.  More mainstream than independent, but that’s to be expected. Having said that, here are Karl Nova and Dwayne Tryumf‘s Spotify profiles
  • You can also share your playlist with friends. I have a list of songs from my good friend David McQueen that he created a while ago.  He called it ‘Jesus Music’ – what else…? 🙂

we7

All you need is your browser and you’re into a world of some of the best-sounding music streaming.

  • Concept: if you can’t (or won’t) download programs to your computer but still want high-grade music on-demand and free, then you most certainly have to check it out.
  • Download: there’s nothing to download – a HUGE plus. Just play straight from the site.
  • Purchase: like Spotify, there are links to buy the music you hear.
  • Quality: It streams at an amazing 192 kps – apparently the highest out of all the major services.
  • Catalogue: another huge collection. Again more mainstream, but with a growing independent selection (see the links above).
  • Stream off the site any time you like, or log in and create custom playlist

Other basic comparisons:

Interface

Spotify: Clean, little or no learing curve, and quite intuitive. Gotten a bit cluttered over the past 12 months, but nothing major.  If you’re an iTunes user, you’ll wrap your head around it in next to no time.

The software install is very quick and painless. It streams very well on mobile broadband too.  Speaking of mobile, Spotify premium offers you the option to stream music on your mobile phone.

we7: you need a fraction more time to wrap your head around the interface compared to Spotify (and I really mean a fraction – you’ll pick it up in next to no time), but the sound quality, catalogue and the fact that it’s all web-based means you can stream and share without the need to be tied to a specific computer.

So: which one’s better?

That’s an altogether more difficult question. I tend to find myself using Spotify much more than we7, but every time I go back to listening to we7 I’m totally in awe of the music I find there, and end up staying on the site for significantly longer than I originally intended.

Interestingly, I use them in totally different ways, and have different types of playlists on both services.  Really weird.

It’s very difficult to pick a ‘better’ one – in the space of writing this I’ve been swapping between both services. They’re both very good.

Hey, it’s legal…

Best of all, though, these are legal services.  In fact, if you really want to support your artists, use either we7 or Spotify to play their music.  If they get enough streams, they actually get paid.

And all you have to do is listen to the music you like. Legally, too.

Not a bad deal, eh…?

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