Rating: Marries its popular IM service to Omnifone’s offering
As the London riots so dramatically proved, the BlackBerry is the smartphone of choice for the younger generation and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is the IM [Instant Messaging] service which they know and love. So why not add a touch of social networking, a sprinkle of cloud computing and a love for music to the mix? Which is exactly what RIM has done by launching a nedw service called BBM Music. The company is cheating somewhat when it points out that participants will have access to tracks from the Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI. That’s because RIM has hooked BBM straight up to Omnifone‘s existing backend service and Omnifone already has such relationships in place. BBM Music is currently in a closed beta trial of the BBM Music service in Canada, the United States and the UK. GoMo News will see if we can get to join in.RIM is hoping to have its BBM Music service commercially available later this year  for a monthly subscription of $4.99 or about £3 per month (£36 per annum) in around 18 countries worldwide.
And there’s the rub. GoMo News‘ view is that subscription services do well in North America but don’t fare so well in the UK.
“The widespread adoption of mobile devices provides the perfect foundation for consuming and sharing music,” observed Maribel Lopez, a principal anlayst with the Lopez Research and Constellation Research Group.
“Brands that want to deliver a unique interactive experience must create services that are mobile, social, and contextual,” Lopez added.
RIM certainly has an impressive userbase to offer the big music companies. “More than 45 million customers already love the social communication benefits delivered through BBM, ” commented RIM co-CEO, Mike Lazaridis.
“We are thrilled to be extending the experience into a uniquely social and interactive music service.”
The objective with BBM Music is to get as many of your BBM mates as you can to sign up to the service.
That’s because up to 50 tracks from your personal profile are shared with your BBM Music Community. Plus, each member of your community shares up to 50 songs from their profile with you.
As with other variants of Omnifone’s service, BBM Music subscribers can listen to full tracks from their friends’ profiles – not just previews.
Additionally, the service offers offline listening , so music tracks can be saved to a BlackBerry for offline listening.
We assumed they are encrypted, of course, but have no idea if they disappear once you end your subscription.
There’s going to be many social networking style facilities in BBM Music – you can easily discover music that your BBM Music friends are listening to, and comment on your friends’ songs and playlists.
The cloud computing bit derives from the fact that you intially stream music tracks down to your BlackBerry from Omnifone’s servers.
Given how keen young BlackBerry owners are on BBM, GoMo News thinks this service can overcome the drawback to other variants of Omniphone’s service where it was difficult to find mates using the same system.
Sadly, GoMo News can’t resist the temptation to share a few favourite tracks with you which we think young Brits might download.
How about Street Fighting Man from the Rolling Stones? White Riot and London’s Burning from the Clash? Police and thieves from Junior Murvin?The old gags are always the best.
Oh, and if you want more information and to sign up to be informed when BBM Music will go live where you live, go here.