London, UK – Research in Motion (RIM) is aiming to fix one of the most glaring omissions in its fight to take on Apple and Nokia, by adding a wireless music download service.
It comes through a partnership with UK-based download website 7Digital, and will launch in the UK, US, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Spain in September.
According to marketing manager Peter Davias, the application will be free. There won’t be an unlimited service, like Comes With Music. Tracks will cost the same as via the company’s website – 99 cents for a track or $9.99 for an album in the US, or 79p/£7.99 in the UK. Of the six million tracks available, most will be DRM-free.
“We’ve got a facility whereby we can deliver tracks over the air as AAC [Advanced Audio Coding] if you’re in a 3G zone, but if you have Wifi it will automatically upgrade to a 320KB MP3 file,” Davias told TG Daily. “There’s also Wifi synching, so it will synch automatically from your PC to your Blackberry.”
Davias said the service would offer a bit more than iTunes or Comes With Music. “One thing these mobile stores lack is that they are just stores,” He said. “We’re going to offer editorial – not just recommendations but features on new music and reviews.”
The move should boost the BlackBerry’s popularity with non-business users. “The BlackBerry is becoming more consumer-focused, and one thing it’s really been lacking is a music strategy,” said Davias. “This is obviously key.”