RIM announces BBM Music service, new versions of BlackBerry Curve
Research In Motion has announced BBM Music, a new music sharing service integrated with BlackBerry Messenger.
BBM Music "lets you discover the tunes your friends are listening to -- and lets them enjoy your songs, too," RIM said on its website, which had been rumored earlier this month.
So how does BBM Music let BlackBerry users do all that? Very much unlike the freemium model of Spotify that allows users to see their Facebook friends in its service, and not at all like Apple's iTunes, which allows its users to see what friends are listening to via its Ping social network.
BBM Music connects to a BlackBerry owner's BlackBerry Messenger friends list. From there, a BBM Music user will have to pay $5 a month to build a music profile of 50 songs, up to 25 of which can be switched out with new songs each month.
And that seems to be about it from what RIM is saying so far. On BBM Music, users can listen to their 50 song playlist and their friends' 50 song playlists.
For those who like what they hear on BBM Music, RIM is linking to the Amazon MP3 store for song purchases. Songs on a user's playlist can be downloaded to a BlackBerry's storage memory for offline listening, or songs can be streamed over wireless networks.
Douglas Soltys, a RIM spokesman, said in a blog post about BBM Music that he thinks "BBM Music could become the 'mixtape' for a new generation of mobile music users."
That might be a bit of a stretch unless RIM can reverse its trend of losing market share to Google's Android and Apple's iPhone, which has resulted in layoffs and reassigned executives.
RIM also recently announced three new versions of its entry-level BlackBerry Curve smartphone that will run on the new BlackBerry OS 7 operating system. The first carrier to offer the new Curve models is Sprint, which will sell the phone for $80, with a two-year data plan and after a $50 mail-in rebate, starting Sept. 9.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Image: A screen shot of BBM Music on a BlackBerry smartphone. Credit: Research In Motion