Hands-on with the BlackBerry Music Store

RIM has released version 1.1 of its BlackBerry Music Store and I was very interested in taking a look. Officially, the store is powered by 7Digital, which also powers the Playbook’s music portal, so it should be no surprise that they look and work fairly similarly. The features are:

– The Music Store powered by 7digital
– 7digital offers over 13 million songs, tracks are available from $0.79 with bitrates up to 320 kbps (DRM free).
– Music Store content is stored in the cloud via your 7Digital/Zdigital music locker for easy portability across devices and to help against accidental loss.
– Browse by top songs, top albums, new releases, and genres by artist or album
– Preview a 30-second sample before you buy
– Choose from multiple content delivery options – Over The Air (OTA) and Wi-Fi
– Tell friends about your favorites via BBM, email, SMS, Socials Feeds, Facebook, and Twitter
– Bookmark a song and come back to it whenever you’re ready for a preview or download
– Integrated with BlackBerry smartphone features and functions, including Universal Search & Media Library
– Use promotional voucher codes to get free tracks or discounts

Head to the break for our hands-on impressions.

It’s not a pretty app, but it does the job. The interface is sparse, divided into Top Songs, Top Albums, New Releases and Genres.

Songs are priced between 79c and $1.29, though most new releases are in the higher bracket. Albums are between $4.99 and $12.99, with most of them sitting at the average $9.99 price point. Selection is good, as you would expect from 7Digital; it rivals iTunes for overall selection in Canada.

I had already paid for two albums on 7Digital through the Playbook app, and they were right there in My Locker to download. Tracks are stored as 320Kbps MP3s, and can be downloaded a total of three times over your different platforms. At the moment there are BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone apps, as well as access through the web site.

The app is integrated with Universal Search, and can be accessed through the Media/Music portal on your BlackBerry device. Like most other first-party BlackBerry apps, the Music Store is more function over form. In fact, this is one of the ugliest, feature-shallow apps I’ve used on the BlackBerry, and performs quite poorly on the Bold 9790, especially when scrolling between screens. The payment system is independent of your BlackBerry ID, so if you’re signing up new for a 7Digital account, you’ll have to enter brand new credit card info.

Head to the BlackBerry App World to check it out, and let us know how you like it.