Since first hearing about RIM’s plans for a subscription music service, we’ve been trying to nail down just how it would operate; was RIM thinking about something more like Spotify or a locker system like Google Music? We heard some rumored details of how it might all work earlier this summer, but now new rumors have emerged that hope to paint a more complete picture.
The concept as it’s been described is a bit odd, and effectively makes building up a decent music library into an exercise in social networking. For $5 a month, you can select 50 songs from RIM’s library to listen to. That doesn’t sound like too great a deal on its own, but as your friends sign-up as well, you can share your songs with them, and vice versa. The more people you know, the more songs you can listen to.
There are some important limitations we don’t yet know about, like how often you can change your selection of 50 songs, or if there’s an upper limit to how many friends you can share your collection with. This also puts some weird pressure on your friends to augment each others’ music libraries; if everyone chooses the same popular songs, there’s little point to sharing, so it almost seems like some conscious strategizing is needed to build up a network of contacts that together shares a diverse music library.