Quoting what it calls “people familiar with the matter”, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has reported that Canada’s Research in Motion (RIM) is developing what may come to be known as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) Music.
According to the WSJ, the new service would allow subscribers to “access” music on their BlackBerry smartphones.
The Journal’s sources claim to have discussed the new service with RIM executives and were quoted as saying — as its name suggests — that the service is “designed to work with RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger”.
The WSJ went on to say that the service may be launched “as soon as next week” and allow subscribers access to around 50 songs at one time. The price for the service was yet to be specified.
According to the newspaper the company has signed, or is preparing to sign, agreements with four of the leading music studios: Vivendi Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner and EMI.
The unnamed sources were quick to point out that the new service would not be a direct challenge to Apple’s iTunes or the recently launched (in the US) Spotify.
The sources said that the service was aimed at younger BlackBerry users to give them the capability to “customise” their smartphones.
Should the report prove to be true, however, it would certainly be a boon in Blackberry’s battle against Apple.
According to a study by ComScore published in July, the iPhone is now more widely used than the BlackBerry in the US market.
Studies would, however, back up BlackBerry’s move into music if these reports prove to be true. Whereas the BlackBerry has traditionally been seen as a business tool, the smartphone manufacturer has enjoyed increased popularity amongst younger users.
In October of 2010, a study found that amongst UK teens, BlackBerrys were a desirable brand. South African teens — in the annual Sunday Times Generation Next Brand Survey — found BlackBerry’s to be the “coolest cellphones” on the market, and awarded the manufacturer the title of “Coolest Brand Overall”.