Three down, one to go
Nokia continues to cozy up to the music industry, announcing today that Warner Music has signed onto ‘Comes With Music’, the company’s all-you-can-eat music subscription plan. The major recording label becomes the third of the Big Four to have agreed a partnership with Nokia, following earlier deals with Universal Music and Sony BMG. The remaining major holdout is EMI.
Announced last December at the annual Nokia World conference, “Comes With Music” will enable customers to buy a Nokia device with a year of unlimited access to “millions of tracks”, and – rather surprisingly – get to keep any downloaded tracks once the twelve month subscription period ends. The only way to then continue accessing the service, however, is to purchase a new “Comes With Music” device (see our follow-up report).
In a press release, Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Warner Music Group’s Chairman and CEO described ‘Comes With Music’ as “the first global initiative to fundamentally align the interests of music companies with telecommunications companies… Through this innovative service and business model, all parties are equally driven to create the best and most comprehensive music offering designed to meet the ever-expanding consumer appetite for music and music-enabled devices.”
While Nokia’s Tero Ojanperä says: “Comes With Music enables people to access great content, provides artists to wider exposure with new and existing fans, and creates new revenue for all stakeholders.”
On the issue of exactly how much new revenue Nokia is generating for the major labels, the company isn’t giving much away – and why would it? Amid reports that Nokia may actually be prepared to lose money on ‘Comes With Music’ in return for securing the major labels’ support and aggressively entering this new market, the company’s music boss Liz Schimel told Reuters back in April: “I can assure you that we are looking out for everyone’s interests in creating these new business models, including our own.”
‘Comes With Music’ is expected to launch in the second half of 2008 on a range of Nokia devices in “selected territories”.
Nokia also announced today that Warner Music is making its catalog available to the Nokia Music Store, the company’s “over-the-air” and PC-based a la carte music download service (see last100 coverage).