RIM Ties Music to BlackBerry Messenger

RIM is hoping its new music service will keep users sufficiently addicted to BBM to hold on to their BlackBerrys -- and bring their friends

Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

August 25, 2011

2 Min Read
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.

  • Sony Ericsson Live With Walkman Is Announced

  • HTC Feels the Beats for $300M

  • Leap Muves Music to All Its Markets

  • Cricket Makes Music in 13 New Markets

  • Comes With Carriers?

  • Top 10 Apps LTE Will Super-Charge

  • App Focus: Premium Shazam Comes to Android

  • Amazon, RIM Launch Music App

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like