Music Diary Notes: RIM’s BBM Music Poses the Question: Perhaps Late is NOT Better than Never?

Imagine if back in 2006 someone told you that RIM was offering a music plan for the Blackberry that would allow you to get 50 songs per month, share them with all of your friends who also have a Blackberry, unlimited and on-demand. And that it would have cost $5 a month!

You would likely have lamented that you couldn’t also get them on your PC or iPod … but would otherwise been pretty thrilled and signed up immediately!

This was the time before the iPhone, before Spotify and Slacker, and when RIM ruled the enterprise phone market. This was before RIM was bleeding market share … well, because of moves like this that mark the company as completely out of touch and behind the times!

According to Digital Music News, here are the plan details:

(1) $5 a month.
(2) User chooses 50 songs to access anytime, on-demand.
(3) User then invites other ‘BBM’ friends to download the app and join the circle, and everyone on that circle can share their selected songs.
(4) All friends in the circle must be paying subscribers.
(5) Music cannot be accessed outside of the Blackberry smartphone – except if the device is RIM’s Playbook.
(6) Overall, millions of songs are potentially accessible, with all four majors expected to come aboard (not sure of the indie picture).

There are more details over at the AllThingsD:

So why would anyone pay $5 a month to get 50 songs on their phone, when they can pay $10 a month and get an unlimited number of songs, that work on lots of different devices, from services like Rdio and Rhapsody?

Reasonable question! But RIM seems to be assuming that its subscribers won’t ask. Instead, it is playing up the notion that BBM Music will be about “personalizing” your phone, in the same way that ringtones supposedly did a decade ago.

They go on to say they “don’t think a mini-subscription service is a terrible idea”, but for me the ‘decade ago’ statement is more telling. This is a service for folks who are older, entrenched BlackBerry users, likely those who will be able to just integrate this into their billing without having to pay separately like they would for Rdio or MOG, and who really don’t think outside of the closed Blackberry ecosystem.

I am sure that there are those who will buy this … just as I am sure there are folks who still but lo-fi ringtones from carriers for $2.99. For the rest of the world that is living in the current decade, this is just a reminder of how badly RIM has fallen … and also a harbinger of how unlikely they are to turn things around anytime soon.

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