RIM Announces Very Limited (and Expensive) BBM Music

Monthly $5 fee to access just 50 songs

On the heels of last week’s report that RIM was in talks with major record companies to create its own cloud-based music service, the BlackBerry maker announced today that it’s launching BBM Music in hopes that BlackBerry Messenger addicts will be willing to pay for a tiny fraction of the songs available elsewhere for free.

RIM’s $4.99 monthly service allows users to stream (and store offline) a maximum of 50 songs. In order to enforce that 50-song limit, users will only be able to swap out up to 25 songs per month. Compared to services like Spotify, which offers unlimited music for twice that price in its premium plan, those 50 songs seem pretty paltry—and pretty expensive.

The whole point of the app, according to RIM, is to link with friends’ BBM Music profiles and access their 50-song libraries, which they can listen to or even add to their libraries. As users build their networks, they’ll have hundreds of songs at their disposal, the thinking goes. But that would require enough people to actually pay five bucks for BBM Music. And with Spotify offering similar social features even in their free service, RIM could be facing an uphill battle.