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7Digital launches iTunes rival, BlackBerry app

DRM-free pretender gets feisty

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DRM-free MP3 merchant 7Digital is taking the battle to Amazon and Apple on their home turf, with a Stateside retail store that undercuts the established players on price. The London-based outfit, now 50 per cent-owned by HMV, is also putting a combined music store/MP3 player on BlackBerry.

7Digital provides white label MP3 services to partners, ranging from one-off promotions for chocolate bars to music startups such as Spotify. The BlackBerry app was developed by DevelopIQ and rolls out on the Bold, Curve 8900 and Storm, with the 8520 to follow. It's an obvious gap to fill.

The company has a decent catalogue of eight million tracks, all in DRM-free 320kbits/s format, better quality than those of its competitors. US punters will be able to get access for 77c a track, or $7.77 for albums. That compares favourably with 99c or $1.29 for Amazon MP3s and Apple's AACs, and ten buck albums - but CEO Ben Drury reckons 7Digital can still make money at these prices.

Drury said it will be offering bundles of MP3 plus lossless (FLAC format) versions of a song.

Earlier this month, HMV acquired the 50 per cent of the company for £7.7m. More sevens - an incredible coincidence. ®

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