Nokia has announced that the United Kingdom will be the first market to be lit up with its its Comes with Music service. The deal will be exclusive to Carphone Warehouse—pre-orders are available today—although Nokia is holding back all the details of the service until a launch event in London on October 2. The first Comes with Music handset will be the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic “Comes with Music” Edition.
“We believe that Comes With Music will transform the way people enjoy music,” said Nokia’s executive VP for entertainment and communities Tero Ojanperä, in a statement. “With unlimited music access for a year, you can enjoy your favorite artists or delve into new genres without having to worry about individual track or album purchases.”
The basic idea behind Comes with Music is that a new Nokia phone comes with unlimited access to a significant music library for a year—licensing and payment for the music is built into the up-front cost of the phone. Once the unlimited access turns off users are free to keep the music they’ve already downloaded. Nokia has deals with three of the four major record labels—Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner—for a catalog of about 2.1 million tracks, although Britain’s own EMI label is not (yet) on board.
Nokia—and apparently record labels—believes the unlimited all-you-can-eat approach to offering mobile music will encourage music fans to sample new music and genres, and thereby bolster sales of albums and downloads both through Nokia’s music store as well as other channels. Some industry watchers remain dubious, warning that Nokia may have a problem on its hands when users suddenly find their Comes with Music service isn’t working anymore. Also, it’s interesting that Nokia has partnered with a retailer rather than a mobile operator: there’s no real reason for mobile operators to get involved with Comes With Music, since it would compete directly with their own mobile music services.
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