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7digital is a cool breeze on a hot day. It’s a simple site, not hindered by strange clauses or contract deals, not filled with umpteen peculiar features and unnecessary jargons, flashy applications and sign-up options. It’s an honest site, willing to open its heart to you even before you sign away any cash, letting you listen to samples of its music, preview new releases and offer ideas to their team through a “feedback” tap that always stays on whatever page you’re viewing. It’s a site that isn’t there to confuse you but simply to offer you the songs you want at an affordable price and high quality.
Okay, so 7digital isn’t the cheapest MP3 downloads site out there, but it’s certainly not the most expensive. It’s an inbetweener but your buck will frequently buy you the better bang. With a great number of their 19 million plus songs available at 320 kbps and free of DRM the end product you're getting – the one you’re most interested in, the music - is one of the best out there. The site is well designed with a few select drop down boxes that provide links to key features (such as new albums or tracks, interviews and so on). When you find an album you’re interested, in the set up is thus: the album cover, the file type, the list of songs and prices. It’s much cheaper to buy the whole album than to buy individual songs, with one track generally coming in at £0.99 and a whole album often only costing £7.99. It would be a great touch if 7digital could offer an option to pay the difference once you’d already purchased a single. That way you could hear a whole song and then make the decision to buy the album without losing any money on the offer.
So why isn’t 7digital the no1review? Well price is a factor (other sites do offer cheaper alternatives if you were to get a package deal or subscription) but despite the great breath of fresh air that is 7digital’s simplicity, it is just too basic at times and 7digital doesn’t really do anything particularly unique. In fact on occasion it doesn’t really cover the basics: searching for a track can be so simplified it’s problematic, even inhibiting. Where are the options to search by genre, for example? Its popularity scales for each song seem to be relatively unused, which makes it difficult to decide on downloading something that you’re not 100% sure of already. Its links with festivals do make for an interesting edge though they don’t quite go far enough. The free mix-tracks are a pleasant treat but more reportage of the festivals, feedback from the bands and festival-goers, free samples of the live music, even ticket competitions, could go a long way to making 7digital a little more than ‘pretty good’.
If you’re stuck (though you shouldn’t be) then 7digital offer a comprehensive FAQ section and the option to send them a message. Their feedback toolbar is a strong point because rather than asking for complaints it asks that you recommend how they might better improve the site. This seems a progressive step and one which – so long as they follow through – makes the users’ views matter.
7digital is an uncomplicated, reasonably priced and high-quality-MP3 download site. If you’re not too fussed about gadgetry, high resolution music videos, unlimited downloads and flashy loading pages then it’s quite possibly the very site for you. Breathe.
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