RIM's BBM Music goes beta: $5/month for 50 songs and social sharing

RIM logoRIM has now publicly announced the closed beta of its new BBM Music service. Targeted at BlackBerry users who want to share music with their friends, the service costs $5 per month and will allow users to "build a music profile" with 50 songs at a time. Users can swap out up to 25 songs each month for different ones, though the real way to expand the library of music you have access to is to share among other BBM Music users.

As we reported last week, BBM Music is designed to work with the already existing BlackBerry Messenger system. Once users create their 50-song "music profiles," they can then begin sharing those songs with other BlackBerry Messenger users and vice versa—if users like a song that their friends shared, they can then add it to their own collections. Users will also be able to combine songs from their own and friends' profiles in order to create playlists, which are also shareable with friends. If they decide to purchase the song as an actual download, the BBM Music app provides direct links to Amazon's MP3 store.

Although the songs from BBM Music are treated like a subscription (that is, they disappear when you cancel the service), they can still be cached to an SD card for offline listening. This is not unlike Spotify's own offline mode for Premium subscribers, though a Spotify Premium account costs twice as much per month (at $9.99) than BBM Music currently costs. Then again, Spotify (at any tier) lets you listen to more music at a time than BBM Music, so there is certainly a feature trade-off.

But RIM isn't trying to spin this as a Spotify competitor that lets you listen to every song you've ever wanted to hear—rather, the company is trying hard to play up the social music discovery angle, which usually focuses less on old favorites and more on new music. The quotes from music labels support that point, with Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music, and EMI all chiming in with the same general sentiment.

"A major component of online music continues to be about community, and the ability to discover new artists and music through word of mouth," Universal Music Group President of Global Digital Business Rob Wells said in a statement. "BBM Music dynamically and elegantly integrates the excitement of this social music discovery process with a high quality music service, enabling tens of millions of BlackBerry users to experience new music and to share those experiences with their friends virtually anywhere and at anytime."

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: BlackBerry, RIM

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