August 25, 2011

RIM Taking Music To The Cloud


BlackBerry smartphone maker, Research In Motion, announced today that it will launch a new messenger/music service for socially-connected music fans.

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) Music will be accessible for a $4.99 monthly fee on RIM´s popular smartphone. The service is an easy-to-use cloud-based service that enables social and viral music discovery, by allowing users to build an evolving, community-based music library that is shared amongst their BBM Music friends. The size of the music library will continue to grow as new friends join the community.

Users will be able to choose music from a catalog of millions of songs from leading music companies including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and EMI.

A closed beta trial of the new service will begin on Thursday in Canada, the United States and the UK, RIM said in a statement to Reuters. It will be commercially available later this year for a monthly subscription in a number of countries, it added.

“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, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion.

“We have partnered with leading music companies to provide a 'full track' music sharing and discovery experience that will provide users with quality music on demand and allow them to connect with friends on a whole new level,” he said.

“The service is compelling because it´s social,” Alistair Mitchell, VP of BBM Platform & Integrated Services, told Bloomberg's Hugo Miller. “It´s about that conversation around music that´s the centerpiece of it.”

BBM Music will compete with free services like Spotify and Pandora Media. The free services allow users to listen to music intermingled with advertising. Apple introduced its own “social network for music” last year, called Ping.

RIM is looking for ways to capitalize on the popularity of its BlackBerry Messenger service, which is free on all its devices and has about 45 million users. RIM is hoping the new service will turn around its market shortfalls.

RIM´s global market share fell to 12 percent in the second quarter from 19 percent a year earlier, according to market research firm Gartner. During the same period, Apple climber from 14 to 18 percent, and Android devices rose to 43 percent, said Gartner.

BBM Music is currently limited to BlackBerry smartphones and all phones that use the BlackBerry OS5 platform or newer versions.

Omnifone, a premier cloud music service provider, will be the backbone of the new BBM Music service. It will provide content management, music hosting and reporting functions based on Omnifone´s award winning technology.

“A major component of online music continues to be about community, and the ability to discover new artists and music through word of mouth,” said Rob Wells, President of Global Digital Business for Universal Music Group. “BBM Music dynamically and elegantly integrates the excitement of this social music discovery process with a high quality music service, enabling tens of millions of BlackBerry users to experience new music and to share those experiences with their friends virtually anywhere and at anytime.”

“We are pleased to be partnering with Research In Motion on their BBM Music service. RIM and its large base of BlackBerry Messenger users represent an exciting platform for expanding the reach of commercial digital music around the world,” said Thomas Hesse, President, Global Digital Business, U.S. Sales and Corporate Strategy, Sony Music Entertainment.

Michael Nash, Executive Vice President, Digital Strategy & Business Development, Warner Music Group, added: “A dynamic social music experience is a powerful way for our artists to connect with fans and also for fans to discover music by interacting with each other.”

“Addressing more than 45 million BlackBerry Messenger users with a service tailor-made for its mobile community, BBM Music has the opportunity to reach a broad and engaged audience.”

“The widespread adoption of mobile devices provides the perfect foundation for consuming and sharing music. Brands that want to deliver a unique interactive experience must create services that are mobile, social, and contextual,” said Maribel Lopez Principal at Lopez Research and Constellation Research Group.

For more information about BBM Music, and to sign up to be notified of its availability in your area, please visit