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We7 goes after Spotify with iPhone app, subs

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Free ad-supported streaming music company We7 is joining the crowded subscription market and launching its own iPhone app next week.

It's competitively priced with younger rival Spotify. Two new tiers will both provide access to a 4m song catalogue. The £4.99 monthly tier removes the ads, while a £9.99 a month Premium Plus tier adds offline access and mobile connections for iPhone, Android and other phones. Spotify currently limits subscribers to three devices at any one time - hardly enough to fill a self-respecting gadget geek's techno trousers.

We7's huge advantage is that it isn't yoked to the doomed, utopian premise of making it all free and (largely) ad-free too. We7 users know they're getting ads, and regulars don't seem to mind. Spotify seems to have belatedly realised the economics, and now turns away new signups in the UK, while increasing the ad frequency substantially.

Earlier this week, Omnifone announced a bundling deal with HP for an £8.99 month access to its catalogue. MusicStation has offered caching and mobile access from the start, and bundles a limited number of DRM-free MP3s every month that subscribers can keep.

We7 was launched three years ago with investment from Peter Gabriel. Founder Steve Purdham previously founded SurfControl, which was sold in 2007.®

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