Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Mobile phones that come with music – and a catch

Another week, another mobile music story: this time, it’s the latest unveiling of Nokia’s Comes With Music. Nokia’s all-you-can-eat music service (terms and conditions apply, naturally) has now got the the Big Four major record labels plus a plethora of …

Fri, Oct 10, 2008, 09:11

   

Another week, another mobile music story: this time, it’s the latest unveiling of Nokia’s Comes With Music.

Nokia’s all-you-can-eat music service (terms and conditions apply, naturally) has now got the the Big Four major record labels plus a plethora of indies, including some imprints with acts you may have heard of, on their side.

To be launched initially in the UK on October 16th (there are tentative plans for the product to be rolled out elsewhere), Comes With Music gives the user a year of unlimited access to the Nokia Music Store catalogue and its “millions” of tracks. When the 12 months are up, you can keep all the music you’ve downloaded.

The cost of the service? Free – once you buy the handset, of course, which will set you back £129.99 (€167).

The devil, though, is in the detail. For a start, while users have access to millions of tracks, their downloads are limited by the capacity of the phones. Once the year ends, you can keep the (copy-protected) tracks you have downloaded, but you will have to buy a new mobile to get more tunes.

As Nokia has not yet done any deals with mobile operators, you won’t be able to download the songs directly to your phone.

For Nokia, one expensive downside may be the deals with the labels, who have sharpened their game in recent times and are unlikely to have sold the family farm for a few trinkets.

Informed sources say Nokia’s negotiations with the labels have been tough, with the rights holders successfully demanding a premium royalty rate.

Artists are now kicking up a stink about getting their cut from these deals, arguing that royalty deals must now address new distribution models.

Such downsides, though, have not stopped the Finnish company’s rivals from competing for a slice of the pie.

Sony Ericsson’s Play Now “unlimited music access service”, will be launched later this year in Sweden and worldwide in 2009.

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