Services/apps mobile

RIM Ties Music to BlackBerry Messenger

BlackBerry introduced a new subscription music service Thursday, tying music streaming to social networking through its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

For an additional US$4.99 per month, BBM users can stream and store 50 songs per month. Once they reach the cap, they are able to swap up to 25 songs on the list for new ones -- or they can build-up their music libraries by connecting to other BBM Music users and gaining access to their 50 songs.

The service, powered by cloud music vendor Omnifone Ltd. , is available on a limited trial basis in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Why this matters
RIM's BBM service is already highly addictive amongst its 45 million-strong user base, and the handset maker is hoping to entice more people to join by adding a music service that gets more valuable the more "social" you get. It's another step the company is making to build up its apps and draw in the consumer market, which has largely opted for iPhones and Android devices instead. (See Apple Borrows From Competitors for iOS 5 and BlackBerry: The Mullet of Mobility.)

The problem with RIM's $5 service, however, is the growing number of other music services that are both free and unlimited. Spotify just launched its free online music service in the U.S., for example. A premium mobile version costs $10 per month, but downloads are unlimited. (See Spotify Hits US 3G Networks.)

Music is one mobile app that could pit handset makers against the wireless operators as well. Both MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) and Leap Wireless International Inc. (Nasdaq: LEAP) offer their own unlimited music download services, built into the prices of their highest-tier data plans. (See MetroPCS Taps Rhapsody for Unlimited Music and Leap Hopes Music Will Muve It Nationwide.)

For more
Here's more on how music is shaping up on mobile.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

COMMENTS Add Comment
DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:55:22 PM
re: RIM Ties Music to BlackBerry Messenger

you might be both hitting on the same point, which is that we can't seem to visualize the perfect customer of this service. is it a youngish consumer? a business user who is a casual music fan? 

anyway, the price point isn't that horrible and it does allow for downloading and storing, which is preferred given the horrible network connections in most places. i'm sure some people will dig it. but i can't picture who they might be :)

^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 4:55:22 PM
re: RIM Ties Music to BlackBerry Messenger

I agree with your assement.  Considering the competition and the dominance of other services, I think RIM has a "long road to hoe" to make their particular music service stick.

to your other comment about 50 songs... I am not sure 50 songs would be OK for "most people".  That is about equal to 4 CD's.  Even casual listeners of music have more songs than that.  Ha... maybe you were being "tongue in cheek" with your comment re 50 songs being good enough for most.

maybe 50 songs would be OK for "Muszak" in elevators and grocery stores..... 

To a larger point, I believe if RIM wants to stay competitive and a leader, they should abandon all this consumer / casual end user push and go back to their strengths.  Focus on the business world and business applications.  Make the BB more useful and essential for business users.

After all, the business community is who brought the BB to prominence and helped create a strong company.  Provide more services on the platform to business users.  More security, more and easier VPN access, better ability to read and manipulate documents and spreadsheets, more aps that would allow a user to down load a powerpoint presentation and present / run that presentation from the BB instead of having to carry a laptop to meetings... integration with CRM and ERP programs from Oracle / SAS / SAP, .....things like that. 

Make it MORE business friendly than ever.  Focus on yoru strengths.  Get out of this blind, low to no margin business of chasing casual consumers and teen agers.  RIM will never win in that market.  Withness the fate of Palm.  




sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:55:22 PM
re: RIM Ties Music to BlackBerry Messenger

You're probably right about the 50 songs. I wasn't being sarcastic, just thinking from my own "Top 10" tastes. But for the audience they're targeting, young, always-connected users, 50 probaby isn't enough -- assuming the phone is their dominant platform for music listening. It's still probably most used on the go; not setting it up at home to listen.

I also agree about the enteprise focus. The consumer market just isnt' working for RIM. It can't stand to also lose ground in the enterprise...which it is.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:55:22 PM
re: RIM Ties Music to BlackBerry Messenger

People seem pretty negative about the new service given the $5 fee and song limitation. I'd guess 50 songs is enough for most people, but there are so many other alternatives -- including in the BlackBerry App World -- like Rhapsody, RDIO and Spotify, that BBM Music will be a hard sell.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:55:21 PM
re: RIM Ties Music to BlackBerry Messenger

I think the big thing that Blackberry needs to think about what is going to happen as IT departments move more and more to Google Docs, Windows 365, Hosted Exchange and other "Cloud Services".

If RIM thinks that BB Enterprise Server will remain the way it is as part of this revolution, then they have some rethinking to do.



^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 4:55:21 PM
re: RIM Ties Music to BlackBerry Messenger


I totally agree with your points about cloudy stuff, google docs, et al.

My point was that they need to focus on business users and business applications.  Stay with what made them strong.  Don't chase the chimera of casual consumers.  Business applications that are useful are things that coorporations will pay for.

However, to do that in a modern world of communications and computing, means they need to think hard and deep about where and how they ad value.

But if they keep trying to win on "volume"... which is what chasing the consumer market is, then they are doomed to a slow painful withering away.

Stay with their strengths.  evolve to be valuable to business users in the new communications paradigm.


joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:55:21 PM
re: RIM Ties Music to BlackBerry Messenger


If you check the job ads they appear to be hiring a passel of software people right now. Could it be a sign?

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