BBM Music, I hardly knew ye (seriously, I never got the chance to play with it). In an email sent out to the service’s users earlier tonight, BlackBerry announced that it was officially pulling the plug on its curious BBM Music service on June 2, though the email admits the date is “subject to change.”
I say “curious” because BBM Music is markedly different than most other subscription music services we’ve seen for mobile devices. As the name sort of implies, BBM Music relies heavily on your BlackBerry social connections to make it worthwhile.
For $4.99 a month you could download 50 tracks of our own, and in order to expand that library of tunes you had to invite your BBM contacts to join the service as well, netting you access to their 50 songs in the process.
Frankly, it was a concept that never seemed to click for me, but I could see where BlackBerry was coming from. Back when BBM Music first launched in 2011, rival streaming services like Rdio already offered more robust music options for those who wanted vast catalogues of music on the go, and Spotify came along later that year to make the BlackBerry media landscape even more competitive. Still, BBM Music was cheaper and presumably intended to give users yet another reason to dig further into BBM — sure, chatting was great, but potentially getting a ton of music that your friends have curated? That’s not a shabby deal for $5 a month, though the terminally unpopular would probably disagree.
I’ve reached out to BlackBerry for an official word on why BBM Music is getting the axe, and will update if/when they respond. That said, the news won’t come as a surprise to some: According to some CrackBerry forum-goers, BlackBerry employees have been foretelling the service’s demise for a while now. It’s also worth noting that BlackBerry 10 users won’t be affected by this move as BBM Music never made the leap to the new OS. Then again, they’ve got plenty of tracks available for download in the BlackBerry World content, but the streaming side of things is a little hairier — Rdio hasn’t yet announced a BlackBerry 10 app, and Spotify either will or won’t release a BB10 app depending on who you listen to.
Now that BBM Music is slated for a dip in the deadpool, what are the service’s current diehards to do? Well, there’s nothing to be done about those carefully cultivated playlists they’ve been working on for the past year and a half — they’ll disappear into the digital ether in short order. BlackBerry’s attempting to ease the transition though by offering each of those users 30 days of free Rdio access. I guess in the end the better mobile music model finally won.