Startup takes a bite out of iTunes

“iTunes don’t do high-quality MP3s,” said Drury. “We do. And you don’t have to run any applications to download and play our content. With iTunes, you have install the software. That’s fine if you’re on your own computer, but not if you’re at work or logging in on a friend’s computer.”

Over the past three years, the London-based firm has climbed into the top five music download sites, turning over £1.7m this year. 7digital price-matches iTunes at 79p per track, also offering music videos at between £1.99 and £2.99.

The coup de grace came in 2005 when 7digital were selected, alongside iTunes, to be the download partner for the Live 8 concert.

“The idea was to attempt to create a new world record for the fastest ever release,” said Drury. “It was a race between us and iTunes to get the first song up online and downloaded.”

“We won by a massive margin. From the time Paul McCartney and U2 had finished playing Sergeant Pepper, our guy had done a mix, run to the office with a memory key and given us the track. We made our first sale within 46 minutes and got the world record. iTunes took four hours.”

7digital may have started out with a bang, but will Drury have this £3bn market singing his praises? Drury hopes that next year, following aggressive international expansion, 7digital will be the second biggest player in the industry. 

David has taken on Goliath. Who will win? Stay tuned.

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