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RIM Close to Launching Music Service

WATERLOO, Ontario, Canada ( TheStreet) -- Research In Motion (RIMM) is close to rolling out its own music streaming service that will work across its smartphones, according to reports.

The music service is expected to work with RIM's BlackBerry Messenger, the company's instant-message system, reported Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.

RIM is in late-stage negotiations with major music labels Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music and EMI, Reuters said.

The new service, BBM Music, is expected to be announced by Sept. 5, according to Reuters. The Journal said the service could launch as soon as next week.

The new service could help the BlackBerry smartphones compete against Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iPhone and phones using Google's (GOOG - Get Report) Android operating system, the Journal noted.

Analyst Matthew Thornton at Avian Securities told Reuters he doubted the music service would attract new users but might help RIM keep its existing BlackBerry customers interested. RIM's BlackBerry smartphones have been losng market share in the U.S.

People in the music industry have been told BBM Music will cost significantly less than Spotify or Rhapsody, which both charge $10 a month for unlimited access to music on mobile phones, the Journal said.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel

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