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RIM, music cloud leverage Android ecosystem

by Kristen Nicole

Android apps are popular, even on non-Android devices. After announcing an entirely new lineup of BlackBerry devices, it seems RIM wants to make them compatible with Android apps. It’s a move that could up the appeal of BlackBerry smartphones, which have lost ground in the past year, Bloomberg reports. With new software called QNX, RIM is revamping its mobile platform (again) from the ground up, and adding support for Android apps would extend BlackBerry’s comparatively limited app market. It would also be a nod to Android’s ecosystem, which now encompasses over 250,000 mobile apps.

RIM’s also looking to woo customers with a BBM music service, which it revealed earlier this week. The growing competition for music cloud services makes things tricky for Google Music, which is still in beta and currently has little social integration. But the industry got a boost this week after a federal court judge found that MP3tunes’ cloud music service didn’t violate copyright laws in using a single copy of a file on its servers, rather than storing multiple copies for each user, reports Wired. The ruling expands the storage capabilities of music cloud services, ultimately giving more features to end users.

Mobile music monetization

Spotify is also making moves in the music cloud, with a new partnership with music search and discovery provider SoundHound. The extends Spotify’s music catalog to SoundHound users, giving the option to play a song in Spotify after identifying it through a SoundHound query. Available for Android users, the perk is only available for Spotify’s premium subscribers, and is limited to Europe right now. Hopefully Spotify will be able to launch these features in the US soon, as the music cloud service grows through partnerships like this one.

As the mobile music scene becomes more diverse, so too does its monetization efforts. Thanks to the mobile cloud, streaming services can offer several features with different layers of integration, and for Android in particular, these services can leverage other apps and device capabilities that iOS doesn’t offer. Rhapsody, for instance, is rolling its subscription costs into certain data plans, while Spotify offers on-demand access from nearly every connected device on the market. Mobile music is becoming a part of the industry’s revenue model, which is great for consumers, who receive more options and more services that require fewer long-term commitments.