updated 05:50 pm EDT, Tue March 11, 2008
Puretracks, with labels Universal, Sony BMG, Warner, EMI, and various independents under its belt, is offering a new DRM-free mobile music store and service for BlackBerry smartphones from Research In Motion (RIM). As the latest company to take a stab at Apple's music download dominance, the new music service competes directly with Apple's WiFi iTunes store for the iPhone and iPod Touch and will work with the BlackBerry Pearl, BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry 8800 series smartphones. Using compressed DRM-free AAC/AAC+ file formats, Puretracks Mobile Edition will be unveiled March 12 at the South By Southwest (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas. A full version of the mobile music service is expected to launch at CTIA Wireless April 1.
The new mobile music store, which will debut in the United States with future roll-out plans slated for Canada and other markets, will feature a "broad selection of songs from top mainstream and independent artists." The company says it is planning to implement support for Wi-Fi capable handsets, enabling BlackBerry smartphone users to download MP3 files over Wi-Fi connections, in the future.
Purtracks is now among a series of outlets to launch mobile music stores. Mobile entertainment firm Jamba (known as Jamster in the US) has claimed it would be the first company of its kind to offer cellphone music without digital rights management (DRM) in Europe. Meanwhile, the UK branch of European cellular provider Orange hopes to have music rental services on its handsets without copy protection in as little as half a year.