We7 - free online, on-demand music service review

We7 is billed as a way to listen to music legally and safely via your browser, supported by brief ads and stings between tracks, rather like the those heard on radio stations. Unlike radio, DJ prattle is non-existent and you get to pick and choose what gets played and when. Initially, the choice is overwhelming, with millions of tracks available, but once you sign up you can start to bring order to musical selections, saving favourite tracks and creating playlists.

A recommendations list is an eclectic mix including La Roux, Lady Gaga, Dizzee Rascal, Fleet Foxes, Don Williams, Calvin Harris, Abba, Kings Of Leon, Green Day, Johnny Cash, Frankmusik, Kasabian, Deadmau5, The Killers and James Last. Something for everyone then, although not necessarily all at the same time. We also liked a worthy 'best unsigned' selection, which gives you the option to preview and buy new music. Much of what you listen to is available to download and buy as high-quality MP3 files, normally 320kbps, with some at 256kbps, compatible with the iPod and other portable devices.

The impeccable Richard Hawley highlighted by we7.

Some of the most recent and popular tracks and albums are displayed on the We7 homepage. Dig deeper and you will find some great musical nuggets, classic oldies, obscurities and trendy choices. Again, the search option is vital here, particularly as you can save the results for further listening when the mood suits. We7 also offers suggestions for discovering new music and rediscovering old favourites. A search for 'The Smiths' for instance, and We7 will suggest similar musical choices including Morrissey, New Order, The Cure, Pixies and Stone Roses. Leonard Cohen offers up Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Waits and Nick Drake, all classy selections.

As you use we7, you gradually earn the right to have a day with no adverts. Emails, for once not spam, alert you to new additions including several exclusives. Themed suggestions, top Christmas tunes for instance, or Elvis Presley's 75th anniversary at the time of writing, also make life easy when you just want to listen rather than dig deep into the impressive selection. The ads, using MediaGraft technology, that allows We7 to dynamically attach adverts to the beginning of each song and create new, targeted, advertising did feel like an intrusion at times, but many we suspect will happily live with them. An ad-free premium version is also reportedly in the works.

OUR VERDICT

We7 is a great idea that's appeal will depend on how much of a distraction you find the ads and stings between tracks. At the very least, the chance to discover new music and listen again to old favourites, both free and guilt free legally, should be music to your ears.

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