7digital Snags $10 million in Funding, Inks New Deal for BlackBerry 10
7digital Snags $10 million in Funding, Inks New Deal for BlackBerry 10

7digital, a London-based technology company that operates digital music stores and services for companies like Samsung and Hewlett-Packard, said on Thursday it had secured $10 million in financing from undisclosed corporate investors.

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The news coincides with 7digital's agreement with Research in Motion (RIM) to power the music service for the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, due out in early 2013. 7digital already operates the music store for RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet device.

Founded nearly nine years ago by Ben Drury and James Kane, 7digital has worked to chip away at the iTunes juggernaut. By dealing with companies outside of Apple's iOS universe, 7digital has carved a niche for itself as the go-to company to provide so-called "white-label" music stores. Its clients run the gamut from large companies like HTC to tiny players like WorldofBrass.com, a website dedicated to brass bands.

7digital has a catalog of 22 million songs, and its music apps are on 60 million mobile devices, Drury said in a press conference the company held Oct. 18 in London.

"Apple has had all the fun these past few years," Drury said. "It's time for some competition."

In the past year, 7digital has branched out to include a scan-and-match cloud locker services, as well as subscription on-demand streaming, similar to Spotify. For example, it supplies the licensing rights as well as the backend technology for Samsung's Music Hub service, launched earlier this year. In Europe, 7digital operates the subscription music service for Pure, a manufacturer of digital radios.

As a result, the company is shifting its image as a company that sells downloads to a purveyor of "access."

"It's not about ownership versus access," said Vickie Nauman, president of 7digital's U.S. business. "We're selling access. You can get access to music for free from streaming radio. You can buy access via downloads. Or you can rent access from subscription music services. As we create more convenient experiences, people will in fact pay for music."

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