Once upon a time, mobile phone companies – operators and handset firms – fought over exclusive content from big bands and pop stars. Now it’s streaming music sites doing the haggling. Spotify and MySpace Music have announced plenty of exclusive pre-release streams in recent months, so now it’s UK firm We7’s turn, in partnership with music mag site NME.com.They’re streaming the new Depeche Mode album Sounds Of The Universe on the NME site from this afternoon in advance of its release next Monday. We7 is clearly keen to get more such deals in the future, too.”We7’s widget is the perfect vehicle to host music on 3rd party websites,” says SVP of digital content Clive Gardiner. “We7 encourages other repertoire owners to allow people to hear exciting new music before release to build excitement and buzz…and to stop people going elsewhere to find it unlicensed.”The album has leaked early on BitTorrent, obviously, and was also the first album chosen to be marketed as an iTunes Pass subscription offer on Apple’s music store. Fancy a listen? You’ll be wanting to click here.

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