Desperate times call for desperate measures, and "desperate" is just about the only word to describe RIM's new bound-for-failure cloud-based music service, BBM Music.
The service, which is based on BlackBerry Messenger, has very little going for it, if anything at all. It's expensive, it's restrictive, and it's not at all innovative. Here's a closer look at the five reasons BBM Music will be dead before you know it.
BBM Music's Restrictions Suck the Joy Out of Music
RIM's idea of "music made social," in reality, is more like "music made scarce." For $5 a month, you can build a library of 50 full-track songs from the four biggest music publishers to stream through BlackBerry Messenger. But you'd better damn well like those songs, because BBM Music lets you swap out only 25 of them per month.
You can build a bigger BBM Music library by sharing tracks with friends (we'll get to that in a moment), but you don't own the tracks you choose, which is par for the course with streaming music services. Unlike most other streamers, however, BBM Music doesn't let you upload your own songs, so you'd better make a lot of friends, get used to hearing the same songs over and over again--or dust off your iPod.
Even at $5 Per Month, BBM Music Is Too Expensive
Speaking of other streaming music services, BBM Music's "features" just aren't worth the $5 per month. You're better off dropping that $5 on Spotify, which gives you access to 15 million tracks, ad-free. For $10 a month, Spotify even gives subscribers mobile streaming. But wait-- BlackBerry is, now, the only major smartphone operating system that doesn't have a Spotify app.
Instead, go with Grooveshark Anywhere; for $9 per month, it gives you offline access, playlist creation, access to millions of songs, and more.
BBM Music Isn't Even Available on Other RIM Products
It's a problem that the most popular streaming music services aren't available on the BlackBerry OS. It's an even bigger problem that BlackBerry's own streaming music service isn't available on BlackBerry's own products, namely the PlayBook. RIM's PlayBook doesn't have a BBM Music app yet; therefore, the PlayBook can't play with BBM Music. It boggles the mind why RIM didn't wait to release BBM Music until after an app was created for its own tablet.
BBM Music's Social Features Aren't Innovative or Enticing
The only loophole around BBM Music's 50-song limitation is to get more friends on BBM Music. Assuming that your BBM Music buddies won't have the exact same songs you do, you can tap into their music profiles and collect 50 of their songs. This program clearly aims to entice friends and coworkers to BBM Music by slightly loosening the above-mentioned restrictions. It's also almost exactly like the Zune's built-in sharing feature.
It's a cool idea, for certain, but even more certain is how epically that idea did not work for the Zune.
BBM Music Barely Has an Audience
And speaking of friends on BBM Music, well, you'll have to find them first. If the above four reasons not to bother with BBM Music aren't enough, RIM's smartphone market share has dwindled 17 percent in one year, according to comScore.
Later down the road, it won't be so much a question of who's using BBM Music, but rather who's using a BlackBerry at all.