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BlackBerry launches music-sharing service

BlackBerry users now have their own music-sharing app, BBM Music, as of Wednesday. A monthly subscription to the service is $4.99. For new users — meaning those who haven't been using the service in beta, or test mode — RIM is offering a 60-day free trial period.

The program is available from BlackBerry App World to U.S. and Canadian users, but be patient: it may take up to 24 hours to show up on your device, says RIM.

With the app, you can choose up to 50 songs a month to add to your phone from RIM's catalog, "Each user can select music from a catalog of millions of songs from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, EMI, IODA: Independent Online Distribution Alliance, VidZone Digital Media and The Orchard," RIM said in a statement.

After downloading BBM Music, you choose 50 songs that will "automatically be shared with your BBM Music friends," says RIM. "The songs that your friends select (as well as the songs you selected) become part of your BBM Music library, thereby significantly increasing the number of songs you can listen to."

For example, RIM says, "if you have 25 BBM Music friends, and each has 50 songs, your library could increase to 1,300 songs!" (For some of us, that's a proverbial drop in the music bucket.) "You can create music playlists comprised of any number of songs from your BBM Music library."

Songs can be cached, "so you can listen to music even when out of wireless coverage (areas), such as when you are on the subway or on a flight.
Each month, you can swap out up to half of the 50 songs you personally selected to explore new music."

Not everyone is a fan just yet. Atlantic Wire dubs the program a "very sad music service ... that is among the least enticing in the streaming-music world." The 50-song-per-account plan is:

... 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.

To use BBM Music, you'll need to have BlackBerry operating system 5 or higher and BlackBerry Messenger 6.0 or higher. Use of an SD card for caching songs is recommended. Although whether you'll be spending cash on this program remains to be seen.

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