I have been getting more and more hits on an old post about We7 where I was giving away promo codes for free music downloads.
In a dialogue on this subject with We7 CTO Gareth Reakes I was extremely impressed to find that they seem to be on the way to cracking the business model for giving away “free” music online.
The whole music streaming business model has been a debating point with the content industry for the last 12 months or so as ISPs and the Music Industry struggled to find a viable, mutually beneficial approach.
Several big name sites have got into difficulty over the model. YouTube have allegedly lost hundreds of millions of dollars (apparently 89% of YouTube traffic is(was) music) and imeem.com allegedly in debt to the record labels for tens of millions.
It is easy to attract visitors to your website if you are giving something away free but not so easy to make money.
What We7 has done is to fine tune the model so that the revenues balance out the costs.
Reakes said “We are trying to grow at while increasing ad revenues as we go and ensuring the model can work. What it comes down to is the number of ad impressions you get per stream you serve (this includes ads as they surf around the site looking for new content). With us that ration is between 3 and 4.
What this means is that you can get to a reasonable CPM rate (cost per thousand impressions – its how ads are priced) which is as low as £2.50. This really is an achievable rate. That’s not even factoring in the recent MCPS/PRS reduction in rate from 0.22p to 0.085p which reduces our costs per stream by over 10%.”
The key here is that We7 can get as many as 4 ads in your face/ear whilst you are listening to a track. This adds up to the equivalent of a CMP rate of £10 whilst the advertiser is on average only charged £2.50. Compare this with up to £60 at the FT and £25 at the Register. Not the same target audience I know but it does give you a feel for the attractiveness of the rates.
The reduction in the MCPS rate has also been a big help although this together with payments to the record labels still amounts to around 1 pence per stream.
We7 has been growing at a very attractive rate. Reakes again:
“We will reach a couple of good milestones soon (we are nearly at million monthly unique visitors). I suppose one of the most interesting things from my point of view is that we are starting to get great reach with our widgets. We now have partnerships with The Guardian and NME where they show the widgets. They are also picked up in many many other places. The whole distribution of music and being able to listen to it anywhere is very interesting. We have had .75 million unique visitors to the widget on all its sites in the last 30 days! (that excludes anything on our site).”
This is a great story and the team at We7 is to be congratulated on their progress. I didn’t ask them whether they have reached profitability yet but this suggests that it can only be a matter of time.
I have had quite a few unanswered requests for We7 promo codes recently. Hold on tight guys and I’ll send some more out this week. Also We7 have said that if I want more to just ask so keep the requests coming. This batch is for ad free music.