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BBM Music streams cheap tunes to your BlackBerry, has us intrigued

BlackBerry maker RIM has made its music service official. BlackBerry Music streams tunes and gives you more music the more social you are.

BlackBerry Messenger, the free messaging service for BlackBerry users that was blamed as a riot-organisation tool in the recent London unrest, is getting a tuneful new component in the shape of BBM Music.

BBM Music is a music-streaming service with a couple of neat twists. The first and most important twist is it's going to be really cheap, with a monthly cost of $4.99, which equates to about £3 in British coin.

We wouldn't be surprised if eventual UK pricing ends up being a shade higher, but that pricing certainly trumps Spotify, which costs a tenner a month. It's a sound investment (geddit?!).

Secondly, BBM Music rewards you with more music when you connect with pals who are also using the service. Here's the breakdown:

To start with, you'll build a personal library of up to 50 tunes from the BBM Music database, which comprises tracks from labels Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI, the four majors. You can swap out 25 songs each month to keep things fresh.

If your BBM buddies are also signed up, you can invite them to connect with you through the service, at which point you'll get access to their 50 tunes as well as your own, while they add your pre-selected 50 to their own library. So the more friends you have using the service, the more songs you get access to.

You can listen to full tracks from your mates' libraries, not just previews, and brilliantly you can save songs for offline listening, so your Britney megamix needn't stop when your train goes into a tunnel.

It sounds like a really interesting idea, and would capitalise on the fact that BlackBerry mobiles are increasingly popular with the yoof who -- our focus testing shows -- are keen on things like "sharing" and "music", but might not have loads of cash to splash on a pricey subscription service.

How successful BBM Music turns out to be will depend on how many people use it, because you won't want to be stuck with just 50 tracks forever.

That said, as Spotify users we have 13 million tracks at our disposal and only ever listen to about 20. In fact, we're basically shelling out a tenner a month for the privilege of streaming Down Under by Men at Work whenever we please.

BBM Music is in closed beta testing at the moment, but will be available to the braying, music-hungry masses later this year.