BlackBerry to discontinue BBM Music by June

The company is referring current users to the Rdio music service for 30 days free music

BlackBerry is to discontinue its BBM Music service on June 2, and is referring current customers to the Rdio music service for 30 days of free music.

The company said that after a strategic business review, it was decided that BlackBerry will no longer develop or provide support for BBM Music. Customers currently subscribed to BBM Music will have access to the Rdio music service for 30 days for free, it said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

BlackBerry, then named Research In Motion, announced in August, 2011 the BBM Music app, positioning it as a social music service around BlackBerry Messenger. Starting with a "closed beta trial," the service was to be commercially available later in the year for a monthly subscription of about US$5 in 18 countries.

Music on the service can be cached to smartphones for offline listening, allowing users to access songs even when they don't have wireless coverage, and users can swap up to 25 songs each month from their personal profile of 50 songs, besides being allowed to share playlists or single songs with friends who are part of the program.

Rdio in San Francisco has supported various BlackBerry devices. A digital music service launched in 2010, it is available in more than 12 countries around the world, and allows users to build a digital collection that is available on the web, in-home or in-car, on an iPad or smartphone, and even offline, according to its website.

The discontinuation of BBM Music may have to do with BlackBerry not wanting to compete with the large number of third-party music service providers on its platform, to focus instead on its core business."We have re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry to create a new unique mobile computing platform that enables third-parties to bring very rich music and multimedia apps and services to customers," the company said. Its BlackBerry World storefront for its BlackBerry 10 offers one of the most robust music catalogs in mobile, it added.

BlackBerry said last month it shipped about 1 million BlackBerry Z10 smartphones during its fiscal fourth quarter which ended March 2. The Z10 is the first BlackBerry 10 OS device. BlackBerry shipped a total of 6 million smartphones in the quarter, the company said as it released its quarterly earnings.

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John Ribeiro

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