updated 10:30 am EDT, Wed November 2, 2011
BBM Music reaches BlackBerry devices Wednesday
RIM on Wednesday offered its first self-run music option in earnest with a promised launch for BBM Music. The finished version of the cloud music service should reach BlackBerry App World later in the day for Canada and the US. In both countries, it should cost about $5 per month, although RIM is temporarily giving a two-month free trial to help get users onboard.
The lower price, half that of most usual mobile music, comes through its dependence on BlackBerry Messenger to work. A lone user can only pick a maximum of 50 songs instead of the unlimited access of others. To boost the collection, listeners have to get their BBM friends on the service, when their music is added to the total pool. A user can swap out up to 25 of their own songs each month.
Like Spotify and some of its peers, BBM Music allows for offline caching as well as shared playlists. A central feed keeps members up to date when others add new songs or connect with someone else.
The service doesn't replace the 7digital-backed music store but is still a risk for RIM, which is going up against both service-only competitors like Rdio and Spotify but hoping to create a compelling reason to stay with or switch to the BlackBerry. Neither Apple nor Google have subscription music, but both have cloud services either in place or imminent that reduce the need for streaming music.