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Blackberry Music Entertainment

New RIM Streaming Music: $5 For 50 Songs? 149

Posted by Soulskill
from the opinions-are-like-music-services dept.
jfruhlinger writes with news that Research In Motion will soon jump into the music service market. The service will be available through BlackBerry Messenger, and will offer users 50 songs for $5/month, which they can then share with other people who own BlackBerries. "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. Ringtones, as you’ll recall, let buyers play a few seconds of a song, and sold for a couple bucks, while full songs from Apple’s iTunes went for 99 cents. And for a few years, the music companies and the wireless carriers sold lots and lots of ringtones."
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New RIM Streaming Music: $5 For 50 Songs?

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  • by alphatel (1450715) * on Saturday August 20, 2011 @08:26PM (#37157588)
    Or you can wait a few months and buy 50 shares of RIM for $5. How much does a deathknell ringtone cost?
  • When it started, paying 99 cents for a song was great. Now, it's extortion. People need to realize this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Are you nuts? We used to buy songs on plastic discs, called RECORDS, in the 1970's for 99c!!!

      • by jdpars (1480913)
        Don't know why you were downvoted. Your tone was awful but your point was very accurate. Music is overpriced and has been for a while.
        • by hedwards (940851)

          Probably because it was arrogant and ignorant. 99 cents in 1970 comes out to a lot more than 99 cents does today. Plus that was before most of the income redistribution occurred, when folks had a pension waiting for them at retirement.

          • by arth1 (260657)

            But you got not just one, but two songs for those 99 cents. Unless I get a B-side with my MP3, I think it is still less value, even for 99 1975-cents.

      • For some of us, $.99 for 12 albums - with the obligation to buy just one more during the following year (at a much higher price, of course). I wonder if, or how that model might fly today? Maybe 50 albums for 99c, & buy two more?
      • Back in the 1970s, 99 cents is closer to $6 now. $6 was a decent chunk of change back then.

    • It is all just how people market music. It used to be that bands recorded albums and you generally bought albums. There really weren't many distinct "tracks" you put it on your record player and listened to it all the way through (and then played it backwards and listened to satanic messages). Things have slowly changed to track-oriented albums and now to the single. When it first came out, of course paying 99 cents for a song was a deal because music was usually offered only as a full CD, but there were on
    • by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday August 20, 2011 @08:48PM (#37157698)

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      99 cents for a song isn't extortion. At worst, it's a price somewhat higher than you'd like it to be. The fact that you have the ability to take something without paying doesn't mean that someone is extorting you by asking that you give them a dollar as a reward for their hard work.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's almost as if he was exaggerating the point by using a simile! The nerve of some people.

        • by artor3 (1344997)

          Wow, after I do the Princess Bride line, you're going to set me up so perfectly with that blatant misuse of the word "simile"? It's too easy...

        • It's almost as if he was exaggerating the point by using a simile! The nerve of some people.

          It's pretty obvious you need to go to Simile School [youtube.com].

          • by metacell (523607)

            Don't be too harsh; at least he tried to use the right word, instead of calling everything a metaphor, like most people.

            It warms an old grammar nazi's heart, doesn't it?

      • by Surt (22457)

        But if you don't buy enough songs, you get on the list where they sue you and accuse you publicly of possessing child pornography. And that is extortion.

        • by schnell (163007)

          But if you don't buy enough songs, you get on the list where they sue you and accuse you publicly of possessing child pornography. And that is extortion.

          1. 1. [Citation needed]
          2. 2. What? I mean, we all dislike DRM on music, but your statement is ... wait, what?
          3. 3. Who was arrested for child pornography as a result of "not buy[ing] enough songs?"
          4. 4. No really, what are you talking about?
          5. 5. While we're at it, that would technically be blackmail, not extortion
          6. 6. Seriously, WTF?
      • by metacell (523607)

        asking that you give them a dollar for distributing someone else's work

        There, fixed that for ya.

    • by Dahamma (304068) on Saturday August 20, 2011 @11:13PM (#37158366)

      Someone wrote, performed, and recorded a song. If you would like to be able to listen to their work whenever you want, pay $0.99 for it (which is 1/2 of the cost of a fricking cup of coffee these days, and that will last you about an hour until you pee it out).

      Did they force you to download it and now demand money or they will break your fingers? No? Then it's not extortion.

      I don't get why people complain about this stuff so much. It's a completely elective entertainment expense, you decide if it's worth it and either buy it or don't...

  • This is exactly what I need! More DRM'd music stores which most likely won't even have many of the bands I listen to! And not only are these DRM'd in the fact I have to listen to them in a cross-platform player but instead I have to stick to the same brand of phone! Sounds like one great deal to me!
    • While I think that this plan is sheer insanity on their part, given how utterly sucky it is compared with ITMS, Amazon, Pandora, etc. it sounds eerily like something that somebody who thinks that the historical success of BlackBerry Messenger is broadly applicable would come up with...

      BBM is also BlackBerry only(to send or receive) and is pretty much just another IM service(the encryption helped sell it on the suit side; but the consumer market doesn't much care). I imagine that some of their higher-ups
    • by macs4all (973270)

      This is exactly what I need! More DRM'd music stores which most likely won't even have many of the bands I listen to! And not only are these DRM'd in the fact I have to listen to them in a cross-platform player but instead I have to stick to the same brand of phone! Sounds like one great deal to me!

      You do realize, of course, that the two biggest music stores, iTunes and Amazon, have not had DRM for years now, right?

      Now, go troll somewhere else.

  • by tkrotchko (124118) on Saturday August 20, 2011 @08:34PM (#37157628) Homepage

    Before going down the 3rd time, a drowning man thrashes harder than ever.

  • by Chas (5144) on Saturday August 20, 2011 @08:38PM (#37157660) Homepage Journal

    "What about this."
    "We're RIM. You want this."
    "No. Seriously. What about this?
    "We're RIM. You want this."

    Newsflash RIM. You've been resting on the fact that you were a big dog in the early professional mobile market. That's not going to save you. It's the only reason you haven't bailed from the market already. It's not going to slow your plummet anymore.

    So get back to work and FOR FUCK'S SAKE...INNOVATE. Otherwise, take your place along other relics such as Microsoft Bob. The Lisa. The Osborne 2. Get the picture?

    • by narcc (412956)

      So get back to work and FOR FUCK'S SAKE...INNOVATE.

      Yeah, they've totally been sitting on their thumbs. It's not like they've spent the past two years buying up talent, updating their OS, and putting together a slick line of new products and revamping their development tools making it easier than ever to write software for BB smart phones and tablets.

      Oh, wait, they totally did all of that.

      And, hey, let's face it -- the Bold 9900 really makes it really hard to wait for QNX line up.

      • by Chas (5144)

        So get back to work and FOR FUCK'S SAKE...INNOVATE.

        Yeah, they've totally been sitting on their thumbs. It's not like they've spent the past two years buying up talent,

        They should have bought better talent.

        updating their OS

        A pig in lipstick is still a pig.

        and putting together a slick line of new products

        *SNERK*

        Oh. You were serious...

        Uhm. No. I disagree with this. New products? Maybe. Slick? More like "more of same".

        and revamping their development tools making it easier than ever to write software for BB smart phones and tablets.

        But with the same host of dummies in the 3rd party market, we're still getting crap, crap and more crap.

        Or we can just wait a couple more years for RIM to maybe think of it themselves.

        Oh, wait, they totally did all of that.

        And, hey, let's face it -- the Bold 9900 really makes it really hard to wait for QNX line up.

        No. Offerings on Android and (may God forgive me) iOS make it really hard to wait.

        • by narcc (412956)

          They should have bought better talent.

          Because The Astonishing Tribe and QNX are just the worst?

          A pig in lipstick is still a pig.

          Because a completely different operating system is the same as the old one with a face lift? Please.

          Call me when iOS and Android can multitask properly like even old versions of BBOS have been able to do for years before iOS and Android hit the market.

          But with the same host of dummies in the 3rd party market, we're still getting crap, crap and more crap.

          Dummies like some of the biggest names in the electronic world, from Amazon to EA?

          No. Offerings on Android and (may God forgive me) iOS make it really hard to wait.

          When iOS and Android can do half of what my BB can do in terms of productivity, security, and quality, let me know. Unti

  • by Sarusa (104047) on Saturday August 20, 2011 @08:43PM (#37157680)

    This isn't aimed at the corporate blackberry users. BBM is the new pager (remember those?) - the messaging of choice for low class drug dealers and their customers. Think the London Rioters. They loooove them some BBM, and might go for $5/mo for 50 songs, which is 10 more than you need for the top 40 regurgitated R&B hits.

    This is a very bad deal for anyone who would actually read slashdot, but I can't say it's completely a horrible idea for RIM.

    • ...Because young people who aren't afraid to break the law in major ways are really terrified of infringing copyright by torrenting a few songs?
      • by Sarusa (104047) on Saturday August 20, 2011 @09:12PM (#37157788)

        It's all about the convenience. Torrenting is far too complex and too much hassle. I've seen some of the interviews, and they're hard pressed to operate their phones, much less uTorrent. This is $5, no hassle.

        • Torrent? I have had paid accounts with Slacker Radio and Grooveshark for months, and I dont torrent anything. Why bother with managing storage and tagging of music on a device when I can listen to (almost) anything that I ever wanted to for less than $15US per month? RIM is just foolish, and I say that as a (mandatory) BB user... I am just waiting for the day that my company wakes the ____ up and ditches BB for a mobile computing device that I dont have to reboot every 2 days... it sucks. So, forgive the ra
          • by narcc (412956)

            ditches BB for a mobile computing device that I dont have to reboot every 2 days... it sucks. So, forgive the rant, but I really think that RIM's days are numbered...

            I've had a BB since the 7290 -- I've had to do a battery pull twice, both times were quite clearly my fault (as it was my software)

            I have no idea what you're doing to your phone that you need to constantly reboot.

    • This could also be a very bad deal for any 3rd party developer who wants to make a music application, or a music-related app, on Blackberry. Will RIM decide to one day block your app because it could tangentially compete with their app?

      • by narcc (412956)

        Will RIM decide to one day block your app because it could tangentially compete with their app?

        Has RIM ever done that? You'll notice that no one "jail breaks" or "roots" their blackberry. You can do whatever you want with it as-is and still have an unprecedented level of security.

        It's terrible that today's so-called "smart phones" still can't manage the same level of usability, security, and freedom as a 5-year-old blackberry.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      This might work given the audience (...) This isn't aimed at the corporate blackberry users. BBM is the new pager (remember those?) - the messaging of choice for low class drug dealers and their customers.

      Actually I was thinking it the other way around, that it could work in the corporate market so that RIM could say that they do have a music service, even if it sucks. I didn't even know BlackBerry had non-corporate customers, I've never seen anyone else with one - ever.

      • RIM have somewhere near 40% of the youth market in the United Kingdom. Anecdotally, BlackBerry phones are quite popular for people who need functional smartphones for very cheap prices (I have a BlackBerry Curve 3G, which you can currently get for £10 a month) and BBM is considered a killer app for them given that it costs absolutely nothing and so is a godsend for those on pay as you go (prepay) tariffs.

        Of course they're also still popular with corporate types. But they have a strong foothold i

  • "...Ringtones, as you’ll recall, let buyers play a few seconds of a song, and sold for a couple bucks, while full songs from Apple’s iTunes went for 99 cents. And for a few years, the music companies and the wireless carriers sold lots and lots of ringtones."

    So evil Apple constructing a mechanism that allowed users to legally license songs for a buck, instead of simply using the music for free. Many complained that Apple users were still stealing music even though they were paying instead of

    • Then evil Apple created a phone that ultimately allowed users to bypass the phone companies and load music and trivially create and load custom ringtones at no charge and browse the web without telco interference.

      Huh? Try again.

      First, if you wanted to add a ringtone to your phone, you had to buy the complete track from the iTunes Store for 99 cents. Then you were allowed to edit that song and send it to your phone as a ringtone for an additional 99 cents. Total charge: $1.98.

      Yes, this was certainly chea

    • by narcc (412956)

      Then evil Apple created a phone that ultimately allowed users to bypass the phone companies and load music and trivially create and load custom ringtones at no charge and browse the web without telco interference.

      Like I could do with my blackberry and various dumb-phones *years* before that?

      Damn those time travelers, always stealing Apples ideas before they have them!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So now 10 cents is too much to pay for a song? What's outrageous is being charged 20 cents for a freaking text message.

  • Let's do some math (Score:4, Informative)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday August 20, 2011 @09:12PM (#37157786)

    Let's do some math, based on my personal collection. I have 7,677 songs, only a small minority of which (~400) are Creative Commons or public domain. If I were to rent those from RIM, that would be... $770 per month. Even by RIAA standards, that's extortionate.
    But, you say, I don't actually listen to all those songs. You're probably right. Let's trim out the ones I gave 1 or 2 star ratings (my entire collection is methodically tagged), the ones I only have because they came on an album with other songs, or even just to complete an artist's collection. That cuts things down to 6254 songs, or $630. Still way too high.
    Again, you repeat, I probably don't listen to all of those in one month. In fact, so far this month I have listened to a mere 727 songs. Adjust for the length of the month, and that comes out to 1090 songs/month, or $110. Which is still too much for me to pay, but maybe someone will. Sucker born every minute and all that.
    So let's say I only rent my very favorite songs, the one's I've given the full five-star rating. That's 70 songs (I'm very conservative with that rating), two of which are CC-licensed, and one more that is copyrighted but not available for sale. Still, that would be $10 a month, for my favorite songs and a few variations each month. Which isn't competitive with other streaming services, and isn't even really competitive with buying permanently from any popular store - those 70 songs would cost ~$70-100 to own forever, or a few month's worth of streaming.

    • How much of that $770 would get passed on to the performers or writers? With some operations (mostly ring tones) that answer was $0 and assuming this bunch are going to be honest it's probably still going to be a single digit. There's a very good reason why the music industry looks a lot like organised crime and that's due to some of the same players being involved in both. Buy those CDs at the merch table after the show or off the performers web sites, it's the only way performers are going to get a dec
    • by nog_lorp (896553)
      Cool story. What you are talking about isn't even an OPTION. Furthermore, it sounds like you plan on listening to 7k songs each month, so I don't know why you would be worrying about money at all when you can hang around and listen to multiple songs at once all day every day. $5 a month is very little to pay, especially when you consider that if you aren't a fucking sap you can still download songs you plan on keeping.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why would anyone willing choose a Lackberry, let alone an overpriced service through RIM, unless they'd been required by their employer or conditioned by previous experience?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because of how damn good a PHONE it is. Great call quality, great reception, the speakerphone is fantastically clear... it's essentially as good as a land-line at making phone calls in terms of audio quality. And the OS doesn't get in the way of the phone functioning as a phone. In fact, it encourages it.

      That's actually what some people want. Not everybody wants tonnes of apps and games.

      • by narcc (412956)

        Yup, my wife loves her android phone. However, as she relies on it more now for productivity, she finds it extremely limiting. My once-hated blackberry has become the most coveted device in the house.

        Put simply, not only does it "just work", it works extraordinarily well.


  • #!/bin/bash

    echo RIM are confused by the market
    echo RIM don't know what to produce
    echo RIM think that everybody likes Blackberry's
    echo RIM can't accept that you would prefer another mobile

    #!C /* A poem in the key of C */
    #include "staff.h"
    #include "key.h"
    #include "tempo.h"
    #define poem RIMisRIM
    a poem() {
        RIM is RIM not Rim nor rim
        tis why we stick them in //the-bin.
        but /bin is where our binaries go
        so where to put-it do we // know?
    }
    #!/bin/bash

    echo Can you guess what's in the headers??

  • RIM WTF REALLY? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheCanadianCoward (1973134) on Saturday August 20, 2011 @09:58PM (#37158032)
    RIM is laying off a fair amount of their workforce. Coming up with the worst ideas possible. The tablet is crap, the phones are old tech and horrible. This is their newest idea? The future for RIM looks bleak. Hell I can use subsonic and stream my whole music library to my phone or any web browser for nothing.
    • Meant to post this as well. They should have been dumping tons of money into R&D instead of pushing the same old products. Now its probably too late.
  • Why the hate? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Linegod (9952)

    If it where anyone else putting this out, it would be heralded as the second coming of the music generation. Since it is RIM, the knee-jerk reaction is to slam it, without understanding what it is.

    Critical analysis is lost when it comes to RIM

    • by u38cg (607297)
      No, it wouldn't. It's a stupid idea and deserves to be excoriated.
    • by mea_culpa (145339)

      Just off the top of my head...
      RIM and Verizon release the Storm as an answer to the iPhone. It sucked horribly, three generations of horrible in comparison.
      Moto and Verizon come along a shakes the entire industry with the Droid.
      Samsung joins the party with the Galaxy, HTC with the Incredible and EVO. Moto, HTC and Sammy continue to iterate better performing products.
      Meanwhile RIM tries to answer this with the Torch in the same epic manner of fail as the Storm.
      Moto, Sammy, HTC, LG, hell even Huawei and Sanyo

    • by RogerWilco (99615)

      No. It's just a stupid idea compared to services like Spotify.

    • by tixxit (1107127)
      Hrmm.. I pay $10/m for my rdio.com subscription ($5/m for the service + $5/m for letting it play on my phone) for millions of songs. Or, I could give Apple/HTC/Microsoft/Samsung/Sony/Amazon/$ANY_OTHER_COMPANY $5 and get only 50. Nope, it sounds stupid no matter which company you use.
    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Except there are already much better services out there.

      In addition to the ones mentioned in the subject, there's things like Zune Pass, which is a more direct comparison - it's available for streaming and/or downloading on phones. $12.50-$15 / month, depending on subscription length, gets you all-you-can-eat DRMed music, plus 10 credits per month to download DRM-free songs (typically charged at $1 each). Cost for the anything-on-demand DRMed music, assuming you'd be buying at least 10 songs per month anyho

  • by rossdee (243626) on Saturday August 20, 2011 @10:30PM (#37158148)

    and how long is a 'song' ?

    Some artists have different ideas about that.
    In the days of vinyl and also cassette tapes, a song could be around 22 and a half minutes. (and an album would be divided into 2 parts, (eg Hergest Ridge) or a double album could be 4 parts (Incantations)

    Then CD's came along and a 'song' could be up to 74 minutes (something to do with one of Beethovens symphonies)

    I don't have any songs that long, but I do have one nearly an hour long (Amarok)

    So I don't mind paying just under $10 per hour of music as long as I can move it to other devices, and listen to it as many times as I want. But I won't pay to just 'rent' music.

    • by mattack2 (1165421)

      Then CD's came along and a 'song' could be up to 74 minutes (something to do with one of Beethovens symphonies)

      That is largely accepted to be a myth nowadays (just like eBay wasn't started because of his wife's PEZ collection).

  • by nog_lorp (896553)
    Maybe because $10 is twice $5, and you don't have the right to share?
  • Sheesh. For people for whom this matters, I think they'll do one of two things:

    1. Look at RIM's offerings, and look at spotify (which isn't available for BB phones). A spotify phone is going to win out.

    2. Buy a BB, without knowing about spotify. Eventually, they'll run into someone with a spotify-capable phone, at which point they'll probably feel like a ginormous "L" has been stamped on their forehead. That should help future BB sales. Not.

    • by narcc (412956)

      Yep. The most important consideration when buying a phone is the ability to stream music. It's not like there aren't *hundreds* of other music streaming apps available for blackberry phones, including popular services like pandora and grooveshark.

      Besides, music streaming services are a huge waste on a phone. Someday, you'll run across someone with an MP3 player and you'll probably feel like a ginormous "L" has been stamped on your forehead.

  • by MikeURL (890801) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @02:14AM (#37159022) Journal

    Google lets you upload 20,000 songs and play them on any PC and up to 8 different devices.

    I almost feel bad for RIM, they are SO sclerotic and hinged to a past that hasn't existed for at least 2 years.

  • When I can get spotify?
  • ...for anything related to Blackberry?

    When I had a Blackberry, I was astounded at how there were almost no apps, how terrible the browser was, the low build quality (three clit transplants in two years? really?), and how horribly obtuse configuring just about anything with it was.

    The only thing it had over the iPhone and Android? The bill went to my employer. When policy changed and that was no longer the case, there was no possibility I'd ever touch RIM again.

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