We7 bets on a future in personalised radio

We7 changesUK digital music company We7 abandoned its free streaming music service this week to concentrate on its Last.fm-powered personalised internet radio.

This allows it to offer ‘stations’ based on an initial choice of artist, genre or song, and in an email to users We7 styled itself as “your free and easy Personal DJ”.

Putting aside fears you may not want your personal DJ to be “free and easy”, We7 has increasingly been heading in this direction over the last few months as it sought to raise the profile of its radio service.

It’s difficult to believe Spotify’s move into the premier league of online media companies, as seen in its US launch and recent Facebook integration aren’t behind the move, though We7 chief executive Steve Purdham denied this was the case.

Instead, he told The Telegraph: “The new service is similar to Last.fm but is different in the way it is presented.”

What he failed to mention is that the new service is exactly the same as Last.fm, seeing as it’s Last.fm that provides We7 with its radio recommendations.

We7 Elliott Smith

Some songs: We7's relationship with Last.fm ensures both services' 'Elliott Smith station' features the same artist choices (in the same order)

We7 will still offer paid-for streaming music packages, though they’re not exactly centre-stage on We7.com, but the challenge for the company, now it no longer wants to be a shop-window version of Spotify, will be the kind of listeners it wants to attract.

The more casual user’s choice may be led by which service works the smoothest, and so far We7 is slicker – though that’s not necessarily a compliment.

But, while some of Last.fm’s additional information may be vaguely interesting/borderline useless (apparently I’ve listened to Elliott Smith 175 times), the recommendations it provides – refined by picking up a good few years of iTunes and Spotify listening – are generally spot on. (They’ve also led me to more than one new band and album purchase.)

So perhaps the degree of personalisation on offer will be where We7 will either fall down or need to strike a wider deal with Last.fm.


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  1. #1 by Mike on October 2, 2011 - 10:18 pm

    …and an as an Australian resident their service is now of almost no use whatsoever to me due to “licensing restrictionms”.
    Pah, another one bites the dust.

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