BBM Music rolls out in closed beta

Cue the BlackBerry-flavoured social music subscription service

RIM's really going for it this year. First it made its foray into tablet territory with the PlayBook, then it announced a couple of BlackBerry Bold models back in May, alongside the latest iteration of its operating system, OS 7. A few months later, RIM confirms the arrival of a batch of new Torch models. The latest news from RIM HQ is the announcement of BBM music, an on-the-go music service designed to take on the likes of Spotify and We7.

Rumours point to a September release date, which may very well still be the case as the service, available via BBM, is currently only available in closed beta in Canada, the US and UK. When it's officially outed later in the year, it'll go for a monthly subscription of US$4.99 – UK prices are yet to be confirmed.

It works like this. Your personal library can house up to 50 tracks. So far, so limited. But, once you add your pals and your BBM Music Community grows, you'll be able to share your library with your friends and vice versa. So in theory, the more friends you have in your Community, the bigger your shared music library becomes. Tracks can be listened to in full or downloaded for listening offline – but music cannot be transferred to other devices. You can even comment on playlists and track how many friends are listening to your music – if you need clarity on how popular your music tastes are. It sounds like you're going to need to pick your playlist wisely, though, as you'll only be able to change or swap half of your tracks on a monthly basis.

BBM Music has been built by Omnifone, which has licensed 10m tracks across all music genres to cater to RIM's 45m BBM users across the world. And while it was thought RIM had secured a deal with only one of the four major record labels, it turns out all four major labels – Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI – are on board.

BBM Music is expected to roll out to 18 countries later this year. That's as much as we know. The minute more info lands, you'll be the first to know.

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