7digital and RIM partner for music service on BlackBerry 10

Research In Motion’s BlackBerry 10 platform will have its music service powered by media company 7digital, after the two firms agreed a partnership ahead of next year’s BB10 release. The move was confirmed by 7digital CEO Ben Drury, who announced that his group would be BlackBerry 10’s official music download provider at 7digital’s Annual Event yesterday.

Striking the deal with RIM represents a significant boon for the company, which also sells videos and ebooks, as well as supplying other digital products and services for a range of organisations. The music stores on BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets are already ran by 7digital, but with the BlackBerry 10 platform likely to outstrip the popularity of its predecessors, the renewed partnership could prove profitable for the media firm.

BB10 users will be able to browse, preview and purchase digital music from BlackBerry App World, with over 22 million tracks made available via the 7digital catalogue. The two companies have been working closely together to combine the strengths of their respective technologies and enhance features such as social integration and recommendation engines.

With the financially-stricken RIM keen to get the marketing wheels rolling ahead of the BB10 launch – due in the first quarter of 2013 – the 7digital music service provides a welcome gloss to the forthcoming platform. It again accentuates the consumer focus of BB10, as software features like an Instagram-style photo editing suite, and hardware production looking to deliver more touchscreen devices, hint at a more accessible and ‘fun’ BlackBerry product line in the mould of iPhone and Android.

Perhaps hedging its bets, business-friendly functions like ‘BlackBerry Balance’ have also been talked up by the Canadian manufacturer. CEO Thorstein Heins (above) recently described how BB10’s Balance feature will allow the user to switch between two completely separate encrypted profiles on the same device, divided by a firewall, which could appeal to organisations wanting to encourage BYOD and mobility.