The 45 million people who use BlackBerry smartphones may get access to a new music service soon.
"Research in Motion, the maker of BlackBerry smartphones, is in the process of signing deals with the major record companies to develop a limited digital music service for its subscribers, according to several people briefed on the talks," reports The New York Times.
Noting that the story was first reported by Greg Sandoval and Roger Cheng on CNET, The Times article says, "Unlike Spotify, Rhapsody and other so-called cloud music services, which let their users stream millions of songs, the new BlackBerry program would allow users to share only about 50 songs with other users, through playlists and other features. It is expected to cost less than $10 a month, and the charge would be added to the subscriber’s monthly phone bill. Record companies will share some of the revenue."
The service would run in connection with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), the company’s instant-messenger service.
The CNET story itself notes, "For RIM, the deal marks the latest attempt to grow beyond its roots as a stodgy tool of the corporate world and into a more full-fledged entertainment device worthy of consumer attention. Over the past few years, the company has worked to improve its BlackBerry line’s music and media players, and worked to associate itself with hip bands such as U2 with varying success.
"RIM is linking its music service to BBM because it remains one of BlackBerry’s last critical assets. The messenger service acts as a social network keeping people on their BlackBerrys, and has been a valuable tool in retaining and adding overseas customers and younger consumers in North America.
"To better improve the performance of its BBM service, RIM opened it up to developers last month, allowing deeper integration with separate applications such as video games and social check-in programs like Foursquare."