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Research in Motion on Thursday launched a streaming music service inside of its popular BlackBerry Messenger app.
RIM has been struggling lately to show that it’s committed to fighting against the gains of Google Android and Apple iOS with full force. Adding a new way for accessing media on its devices could be one way to attract new consumers and retain those who are still loyal.
“More than 45 million customers already love the social communication benefits delivered through BBM, and we are thrilled to be extending the experience into a uniquely social and interactive music service,” said Mike Lazaridis, RIM President and co-CEO, in a statement.
The launch of a music service from RIM has been rumored for quite some time and official word it was around the corner came last week.
The BBM Music service costs $4.99 per month but is structured very differently from other music services. Each user can pick up to 50 songs to post to their BlackBerry Messenger profile, and anyone who is friends with that user can listen to the posted songs. So, the more friends you have on BBM, the more music you can listen to. Users are allowed to swap out 25 of the posted tracks each month.
Users will be able to pick from “millions of songs,” as RIM has signed agreements with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI.
A closed beta of the service starts today in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Later this year, the service is also expected to be turned on in Australia, Columbia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and UAE.
BBM Music is an interesting social twist on the music app. You’re essentially encouraged to pick out songs not only that you like but that you might want to introduce to friends as well. But is it enough to make a difference in the already established music app landscape?
I think the service will have a hard time catching on, at least in the U.S. There are already many music services out there that let users listen to an unlimited amount of music through smartphone apps, which is much more attractive than just 50 songs and whatever your friends happen to pick.
Right now, music services like Rhapsody, Grooveshark, Rdio, Pandora, Slacker and Iheartradio all offer streaming music apps for BlackBerry, iOS, and Android. Spotify and MOG are both available for iOS and Android devices and likely have BlackBerry apps in the pipeline.
What do you think of RIM’s new music service? Will you subscribe?
More screenshots from the BlackBerry Music app inside Messenger follow: