BBM Music: RIM tries to build on BlackBerry Messenger with song-sharing service

Will younger users go for the 50 track, $4.99 offering?

Will younger users go for the 50 track, $4.99 offering?

BBM Music lets users share 50 track playlists

BBM Music lets users share 50 track playlists Image: RIM

RIM has launched BBM Music, a paid-for, cloud-based music service that lets users share songs with their BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) friends.

Each user is able to create a profile with 50 tracks chosen from millions of songs provided by music companies. As well as their own choice of songs, users can access the 50-track playlists created by their BBM Music friends, thereby expanding the number of tracks they can listen to.

Users can update their profile playlist by swapping out up to 25 tracks every month.

BBM Music is linked to RIM's existing BlackBerry Messenger service, which currently has more than 45 million users worldwide.

According to Ben Wood, director of research at analyst house CCS Insight, BBM Music is an attempt by RIM to build on the success of BBM.

"It's one of several things that RIM has been doing to try and broaden the appeal and also the stickiness of the BBM service. We've seen them open up new API's we've seen them creating new functionality in the application where you can share your location have group messaging, so they're clearly committed to it," Wood told

Although the UK subscription fee for BBM Music is yet to be announced, RIM has priced the US service at $4.99 a month.

While the incentive to connect with other BBM Music users is an interesting experiment, Wood said, RIM will have a hard time convincing BBM users to pay for the music service.

Wood believes the cost is likely to be considered too expensive by most younger BlackBerry users. "If you're a teenager with a low-end BlackBerry, you've grown up in a culture where music is perceived as being free," he said.

"Even at $4.99 per month, the perception of having to pay $4.99 per month and only getting 50 tracks and [those] being locked to your BlackBerry isn't going to be a particularly compelling proposition for the younger users that [RIM] are going after."

RIM is offering a one month's free trial in an attempt to entice users onto the service.

"With a three-month trial they might have more success in terms of getting people to really get into the service and get it embedded in their lives and therefore see some value in it," Wood said.