Nokia's Comes with Music: The facts

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

Nokia is soon to unleash a music download model that will unlikely be anything we've seen before.

(Credit: Nokia)

With the world's largest online music vendor, Apple, announcing significant changes to iTunes, everyone else will need to be prepared to offer something extraordinary if they want our hard-earned money. Nokia's Comes with Music is exactly that.

Oh yeah? What's so good about it?
Free music, like free beer, is usually enough to catch our attention, but 12 full months of free music sounds like lunacy. Starting soon, Nokia will bundle an activation code with selected media-centric handsets. This code will allow you to browse and download anything you like from the Nokia Music Store for a whole year, which you get to keep at the end of the 12 months.

What's the catch?
We've dug deep to find the catch, but Nokia assures us that it is exactly as described. There's no restriction on which tracks can be downloaded and there will be no fair use policy as far as we can see. The only catch, if you can call it that, is that the tracks you download are only playable on certain Nokia handsets and the Nokia Music browser on your PC.

So the music is DRM protected?
Yes. All the music on the Nokia Music Store is in DRM-protected WMA file format and you will only be able to play the tracks on the phone you've bought and one authorised PC. This requires you to have Windows Media Player 11 installed and also means you definitely need a PC to run it all successfully (take that Apple!). This is obviously Nokia's attempt to wean us off our collective iTunes addiction, but it's definitely not a more open system than the one being employed by Apple, especially with Apple going in the other direction with a DRM-free library of music.

I don't care! 12 free months of music is all I want!
If all the talk of scary, scary DRM hasn't turned you off the idea of free (legal) music, then you won't have to wait much longer to get into Comes with Music. In the UK, Nokia launched the service with the 5310 XpressMusic followed soon after by a re-packaged Nokia N95 8GB. In Australia, we've been told to expect the fun to kick off in either February or March, most likely to coincide with the launch of the touchscreen 5800 XpressMusic.

Stay tuned for more hard details about the launch of Comes with Music down under. In the meantime, jump on the forums and tell us what you make of the concept.

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Marshall posted a comment   

I purchased an Nokia 5800 with the free music, The nokia OVi music store is crap compared to iTunes.
And the PC software is rubbish to, give me an iPhone and iTunes any day. Nokia needs to allow their software to work on Apple, then maybe it will run faster and smoother. Free music is great the selection in their store isn't, but this is no competition for Apple.

 

norma posted a comment   

after the 12 months.....how much does it cost for another subscription period?

 

nokia5800 posted a comment   

I heard that you wont be able to play these tracks after 3 years. So are they "yours to keep"?

 

canberra_photographer posted a comment   
Australia

"The only catch, if you can call it that, is that the tracks you download are only playable on certain Nokia handsets and the Nokia Music browser on your PC."

I suspect Joseph got a free N95 for the tactical play down of the fact that the Music is severely DRMed. Basically, it's free music so long as you use Nokia phones and PC software. Hell, even iTunes let you use their DRM more freely.

 

davidkymdell posted a comment   

This is the brute force way of trying to get new customers and is pretty much like Sony offering free PS3's with their TV's. It'l work for a while but then people will revert back to what is "in" and works better.

 

ricoanna posted a comment   

"All the music on the Nokia Music Store is in DRM-protected WMA file format and you will only be able to play the tracks on the phone you've bought and one authorised PC." --- Why can't it be on MP3 format like iTunes?? and why can it only be played on your Nokia phone??..this is not going to take off....If it does, it will have the same longevity as Laser Discs...Laser what???...Exactly.




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