According to “four people familiar with the plans,” the Canadian company is in the final stages of negotiations with major music labels such as Universal Music Group, Sony Corp’s Sony Music, Warner Music Group and EMI Group.
The new service is expected to work with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) – RIM’s popular instant messaging system believed to be used by some 45 million people – and allow users to collect and share songs with BBM contacts.
Sales of BlackBerry smartphones have declined in the US as the mobile market becomes ever more competitive, though the popularity of BBM has actually helped it to expand its market in other countries. As a result, RIM is hoping that the new music service will help to keep BBM fresh and in the spotlight, and help take the appeal of BlackBerry devices beyond their traditional business-user base.
Speaking to Reuters, Avian Securities’ Matthew Thornton was skeptical about whether the introduction of a music service would tempt new users, though he believed it might help to prevent current BlackBerry smartphone owners from being distracted by offerings from rivals.
Although a RIM spokesperson declined to elaborate on news of the forthcoming music service, an announcement about it is expected to be made by September 5.