In a move similar to MySpace Music, Bebo has partnered with 7digital to offer a music download service. Now any of the 450,000 registered bands on Bebo can start selling their music on the social networking site via 7digital's 'indiestore' widget. Additionally, Bebo users will be able to purchase music from any of the existing 4,000 labels (including all the majors) featured in 7digital's 'indiestore'. Well known bands already taking advantage of the new service include The Killers and Muse.
Any member of Bebo Bands will be able to sign up for a free Starter 'indiestore' account, which will allow them to sell up to four tracks, or upgrade to a Pro account, enabling them to sell 20 tracks. From then on, an artist simply uploads their music, and with one-click can embed the 'indiestore' widget onto their Bebo profile. This is where Bebo's tight control over its widget eco-system pays off, as not only does Bebo get a kick-back from each widget partnership it has formed, but for users, it makes embedding a widget a one-click process (no cutting 'n' pasting code). The downside is that users don't get as many choices. Having said that, at least Bebo's policy is clear, and has been consistent from the outset -- unlike MySpace's ambiguous policy.
Tracks can be sold in multiple currencies, and paid-for using PayPal, credit card and even SMS. According to 7digital's website, artists receive a 70% revenue share, and tracks are offered DRM-free and available in multiple formats (including MP3 and Windows Media).
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