BBM Music, the socially-orientated music downloading and sharing service exclusive to BlackBerry users, has gone live in the UK today.
First announced in August, the service costs £4.99 a month and gives users access to 50 tracks a month, with users allowed to swap out 25 of those tracks for new ones every month.
However, through integration with BlackBerry Messenger, users will have access to the 50 tracks stored on up to 140 of their BlackBerry-using friend's handsets, potentially giving access to 7,000 tracks on and offline each month to every user.
Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI are among the labels touting their artists on the service.
It's a very strange system. Quite fixed in its nature, it relies heavily on many of your friends using the service in order to maximize the tracks available to you, as well as having similar taste to your pals in order to enjoy it. It looks as though RIM are hoping word of mouth will push the service, as users hope to expand the range of their available music each month, in a similar way to Dropbox's storage-increasing referral system.
However, you do have to wonder who in their right mind would choose the service over alternatives. Limited to 50 tracks a month for a fiver (not including the random selections from pals), BBM Music pales in comparison to the unlimited access to millions of songs you get from Spotify mobile for £9.99 a month, now available on BlackBerry OS 7 devices. You can argue that the integration with BlackBerry Messenger gives the service a unique social aspect, given the wild popularity of the free messaging client, but with Spotify now so integrally tied into Facebook (and with everyone and their dog signed up to the world's largest social network), the BBM features themselves seem moot and limited in their scope.
Working on BB OS 7, BB OS 6, and BB OS 5 devices running BBM 6, the app is available now from the BlackBerry App World.