Today BlackBerry is releasing its very sad music service to the public that is among the least enticing in the streaming-music world. The BBM Music service works like this: you can choose 50 songs to add to your BlackBerry all for $4.99 a month. Not only does this rely on a super dumb 50-song-per-account concept, but it's also the least free option out there. To lure listeners, all the players offer a "free" subscription tier. The options aren't really free, but the services try to distract from the ads and limited-time-offers with lots of songs. The idea is to make the free service seem like it's good enough to try, but then have enough limitations to convince people to pay.
BlackBerry's music competitor doesn't even bother with trying to sound like a good deal. Those who don't pay only get access to 30 second teaser clips of an already meager 50-song playlist that BlackBerry offers. 30 seconds of a song is worse than no song at all. It's like taking a single bite of ice-cream, or wafting someone else's Easy Mac -- more pain than enjoyment. Spotify's free, unlimited music comes with ads and expires after six months, but it doesn't limit listening of its 15 million songs and doesn't charge a fee. Rdio and Mog have music listening caps, but they at least bill them as endless, and again, they offer full access to their extensive libraries.
BlackBerry's paid route isn't much better. The way the service works, subscribers pay $4.99 for 50 songs that they can choose from a "library of millions." Spotify has a $4.99 option that offers 15 million songs. The mobile Spotify costs another $5.00 per month, but it still offers a way better cost-per-song rate. BlackBerry doesn't completely eliminate the option to get access to more songs. BBM Music is a "music sharing and discover service," meaning, it gives subscribers access to the entire 50 song music library of all their BBM music subscribing friends. They too have to pony up the $5 per month. Not to mention, the system it totally dependent on how many friends one has and how many of those are BlackBerry-ed. These days, with iPhone 4S fever, that's looking less likely.
BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion tried to explain its reasoning for this non-sensical app to Business Insider's Steve Kovach. "RIM's argument is that people don't need to or don't have time to listen to the millions of tracks available on rival music services," writes Kovach. "Instead, it wants BBM Music users to keep their favorite songs and share them with friends." Maybe that is what people want? But the social music theory is just looking like a bad deal.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.