We recently got one of the new BlackBerry Gateways in-house to review and it seemed like a good time to talk about BBM Music as well since the two sort of go hand-in-hand. The BlackBerry Gateway product has been out for a while but the latest version has some new features including NFC support so you can “tap to pair”. BBM Music on the other hand, hasn’t really changed much and is probably getting a little side tracked with RIM’s focus on BlackBerry 10.
It seems the biggest flaw for BBM Music is the social component. It was obvious to leverage the BBM network to be able to share music, but the implementation doesn’t really add much to the music experience.
An example of this is that BBM doesn’t have any sort of recommendation engine. Sure, you can add people easily to your list, but you’re adding people without any real understanding of whether they’re taste in music is similar to yours. What often ends up happening is that you just add as many people as you can to increase the size of your library. But what’s the point when the songs aren’t even ones you’d enjoy?
A great way to fix this would be to pair people based on interests and bring music celebrities into the network. The Martinez Brothers have been big BlackBerry supporters, so how come we can’t follow them?
Another way social is broken on BBM Music is that as BlackBerry’s subscriber numbers decline in North America, the likelihood of your friends being on BBM Music becomes increasingly small. It’s also unlikely that RIM will open BBM Music up to other platforms, meaning your music experience will be pretty lonely. Perhaps RIM shouldn’t be in the business of making music apps and should just supply the APIs to make a great music experience.
As it stands, BBM Music is becoming less and less worth the $5 per month.
So if BBM Music isn’t your thing, perhaps you should just save downloaded music files to your device. Either way, you’re going to want to play them off your stereo and that’s where the BlackBerry Music Gateway comes in.
The BlackBerry Music Gateway is a solid piece of hardware that allows you to easily play your BlackBerry off your stereo. The device pairs to your BlackBerry via NFC so you can simply “tap to pair” and be on your merry way. Considering the Gateway is only $50, it’s not too hard on the wallet. So if you’re looking for an easy way to play your BlackBerry off your stereo, this is a solid purchase. Too bad the music options aren’t better on BlackBerry. What we need is Hypem and SoundCloud.