The install from the Windows Store took longer than any other Windows 8 app, albeit that equates to just a few minutes given the speed with which most Windows 8 apps are downloaded and installed. During the process we were warned that 7digital requires access to our Samsung Series 7 Slate's web connection, which seems reasonable to us.
It's worth pointing out, of course, that there is a dedicated 'Music' app in Windows 8. Right now it is a bit buggy, but in time it will be a portal for the 30 million or so tracks Microsoft claims are contained in Xbox Music. 7digital has its work cut out to become the Windows 8 music app of choice. (See also: Windows 8: the complete guide.)
7digital for Windows 8: inside the app
Once you open the app you'll be met with a very familiar scene. 7digital has stuck rigidly to Microsoft's Metro stylings, and the 7digital app comprises a series of series of tiles. It looks like the Sky News app Microsoft is so keen to promote as a standard bearer for Windows 8 apps (or, Hell, any other Windows 8 Metro style app). Each tile is an album or a track, represented by artwork. The tiles are grouped into only four categories: New Releases, Your Music, Charts, and Sale. See also: Best Windows apps: Windows 8 app group test.
Each section on the face of it contains only a handful of releases, but each has a 'View all' button that takes you through to further listings. Like all Windows 8 apps, however, there are Search and Share options, and it is the former that will help you to find tracks. Windows 8 Metro apps are, generally speaking, post-Google apps - they are more suited to using search to find things than filtering through listings pages. In part because of the restrictions of Windows 8 apps, and in part because the search is so good, Windows 8 will have to get used to trusting in search to filter content-heavy apps such as 7digital.
In 7digital for Windows 8 this works well. Search for an artist or track and you are presented with a variety of results that either totally match the search term, or are partial matches. According to 7digital the Windows 8 app provides access to some 20 million music tracks. This is - you would think - plenty, but as with all digital music stores, you won't find everything you are looking for. There are some big misses in iTunes, after all, and that store claims more than 28 million songs.
New Releases is self explanatory: a collection of the latest music releases. You Music showcases songs you have purchased, and allows you to set up playlists. Charts shows off the most popular Albums and Tracks in separate charts, and the Sale is a quick way to grab a bargain.
7digital for Windows 8: buying a track
Find an album that you like and you can dive in to select a single track from it. Or simply buy the whole album. The purchase process is as simple as you'd expect: click buy, input your card details, and the track is yours. Once your details are uploaded the process is simpler yet. And any track you buy from the app enters your 7digital accounts elsewhere (and vice versa). Tracks are automatically added to your cloud-based 7digital Locker for access on other devices or through a web browser. Favourite artists and albums can also be 'pinned' to the Windows 8 UI and shared with friends.
We were less impressed that the prices are currently all in US Dollars, but it is worth pointing out that the current build of the 7digital app for Windows 8 is a beta (running in a beta OS). 7digital assures is the app will be updated before Windows 8 launches, and we'd expect UK pricing at that time. The prices are reasonable - around $10 for an album and $1-$1.50 for a track. About the same as other digital stores.
Update: You can change what nationality of store you are in by going to Settings > Settings > Store and then selecting 'United Kingdom' in the drop down. Can I be the first to say 'd'oh!' (slaps palm to forehead).
So is it worth installing 7digital in addition to the Windows 8 Music app? Right now it certainly is - it's a free app and it offers another way to purchase tracks. Even more so if you use 7digital in your non-Windows 8 life!