7digital launches in the US, BlackBerry music download store provides the splash

Like many British acts, UK-based music download service 7digital is hoping to conquer America. Today the company announced that its 6 million plus strong MP3 music store has opened its doors in the US, with tracked offered from Universal Music Group, Warner, EMI, Sony and an array independent labels.

To coincide and spearhead 7digital’s US launch, the company has also released the BlackBerry MP3 Music Store application for RIM’s latest range of smartphones (BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Curve 8900, BlackBerry Tour, BlackBerry Curve 8520 and BlackBerry Storm).

Tracks can be downloaded over over a cellular connection (GPRS, EDGE or 3G) in the lower 64kbs bit-rate MP3 format, for faster download and “instant” listening, and then when/if a Wi-Fi connection becomes available, the app automatically upgrades each track to a higher-quality 320kbps MP3.

The BlackBerry app is also able to access a 7digital user’s “digital locker” so that any previously purchased tracks can be re-downloaded when needed.

7digital has long been a proponent of DRM-free music, with CEO Ben Drury campaigning for and rightfully predicting the demise of copy protection in the download-to-own digital music space, while the US launch provides consumers across the pond with yet another DRM-free music option, with Apple’s iTunes, Amazon MP3, Napster, Best Buy, and others already operating in a very crowded market.

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last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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