Now that 7Digital supports US, Songbird can almost replace iTunes
UK music store 7Digital is now open for business in the US, challenging iTunes with $7.77, DRM-free albums.
Online music store 7Digital officially gained support from all major labels in March of 2008, and has since enjoyed substantial growth by offering its platform as an API for developers to integrate into other services such as RIM's BlackBerry music download service and EMI's music discovery portal.
The store offers full DRM-free albums for $7.77 and single tracks for 77¢, the service claims to have a library of over 6 million downloadable MP3s, encoded at 192 kbps and 320 kbps.
But one of the most exciting things about 7Digital opening in the United States is its inclusion in open source media management software Songbird. For music consumers who may not want to be tied to the ubiquitous Apple iTunes for managing their music and media content, Mozilla XULRunner-based Songbird has provided a robust alternative for a little more than two years. While enhanced by social Web plug-ins, the software really couldn't compete with iTunes because it lacked a native music store (and comprehensive PMP device support...but it actually supports a ton more hardware than iTunes!).
However, in March 2009, Songbird launched version 1.1.1 with the 7Digital music store built in. At the time, 7Digital CEO Ben Drury said, "7digital and Songbird is a killer combination for anyone who wants a dynamic, open music player. Songbird blows other media players away in terms of device support and extensibility and we're very excited to be partnering with them to allow users to buy, download, and transfer MP3s onto a multitude of devices. The Songbird Platform made it quick and easy to integrate 7digital into Songbird."
Unfortunately though, only UK users had complete access, so United States and European users had access to only a beta version of the store.
But now that the 7Digital store has opened fully to the US, you can find it by simply erasing "songbird" from the end of the URL (http://us.7digital.com). Songbird has not officially updated its native 7digital interface yet, which includes a recommendation engine based upon your library; but when songs are purchased through the store in the Songbird browser, they are still automatically queued, downloaded, and catalogued in the application.