Tesco buys digital music platform WE7

15 Jun 2012

As part of its strategy to make its way into the digital media market, Tesco has bought WE7, a free personalised internet radio service.

For the price-tag of stg£10.8m Tesco has bought a 97pc stake in UK-based WE7 and plans to purchase the remaining shares within the coming weeks. Overall, Tesco intends to increase investment in its online business to around stg£150m between 2012 and 2013.

Last year, the supermarket chain acquired Blinkbox, a subscription-free online movie service available on PC, games consoles, tablets and smart TVs. Innovations with this service saw Tesco win ‘Retailer Initiative of the Year’ at this year’s British Video Association industry awards for an offer that allowed customers who purchased a DVD or Blu-ray film to also have the digital version at no extra cost.

Now branching out into the music market beyond physical sales, Tesco has revealed little of what it plans to do with its latest acquisition other than to say it will launch additional music services on the platform in the coming months.

Currently, WE7 users can listen to music and say what they like or don’t like so that the service can help them discover new music suited to their tastes. With a library of 11m tracks, the service offers a range of new releases and familiar classics across all genres, available via the WE7 website and through the WE7 app for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

“Customers and technology together are transforming the way we listen to music,” said Mark George, Tesco’s digital director. “Tesco is already one of the UK’s largest retailers of CDs; this move will help us offer a greater choice for the growing number of customers who want to access music instantly on any device, whenever and wherever they want.”

The buyout is a good move for WE7, who hope to gain access to Tesco’s vast network of customers. “With its loyal customer base, numerous marketing channels and international reach, we believe Tesco is the perfect partner to bring WE7’s music services to a wider audience,” said WE7 CEO Steve Purdham. “Tesco has been an innovator in entertainment retailing for many years and we look forward to continuing this innovation digitally.”

Digital music image via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.