Posts Tagged ‘Comes With Music’

Nokia's all-you-can eat music service now "comes with" its own flagship touch screen phone – Nokia X6

Nokia_X6_white_blue_homescreenAlthough I’d put poor marketing, carrier resistance, and possibly DRM, ahead of the lack of a flagship device to explain why Comes With Music, Nokia’s all-you-can-eat music service, hasn’t been the hit the handset maker had hoped for, the company’s newly announced X6 music phone is encouraging.

The device, unveiled at Nokia World today, is to be a Comes With Music exclusive offering, and sports a 3.2-inch touch screen display (16:9 ratio at 360 x 640 pixels), 32 GB of built-in storage, a 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and dual LED flash, A-GPS and WiFi, amongst its impressive stats. And in a first for Nokia, that touch screen is capacitive (not resistive), meaning that its should be a lot more responsive to the touch of a finger. Regular readers will know I’m not a fan of old skool stylus optimized resistive screens.

A quick recap of how Comes With Music works: you purchase a qualifying Nokia handset and then get access to the entire library of the Nokia Music Store for 12 – 18 months and get to keep any downloaded tracks once the subscription ends. For that privilege, the Nokia X6 has an estimated retail price of EUR 450, although the handset maker is stressing that ‘in many, many markets’, thanks to carrier subsidy, the device should be closer to “free”.

Nokia admits mistakes over UK launch of "Comes With Music"

Nokia Comes With Music

Nokia and I are in agreement over at least one thing: the company made mistakes when launching its all-you-can-eat music subscription offering “Comes With Music” in the UK. The service whereby you purchase a qualifying Nokia handset and then get access to the entire library of the Nokia Music Store for 12 – 18 months and get to keep any downloaded tracks once the subscription ends, was launched in the UK on two aging phones and with the backing of only one carrier and one retail chain.

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Why has Nokia's 'Comes With Music' been a flop in the UK?

Nokia's Comes With Music at Carphone Warehouse, UK

Nokia’s all-you-can-eat music offering “Comes With Music” (CWM) hasn’t exactly caught on in the UK, according to Music Ally, with the service attracting just over 23,000 active users. “Given the high-profile marketing campaign around its launch with retailer Carphone Warehouse, that’s a sluggish start”, notes the site. So why has CWM been a flop here in the UK?

First a quick recap of what CWM offers: those who purchase a supported Nokia handset get 12 months “unlimited access to the entire Nokia Music Store catalog with the ability to keep all downloaded tracks even after the year is over.” Tracks can be downloaded “over the air” or sideloaded via a PC (Windows only), and are ‘policed’ using Windows Digital Rights Management (DRM). To continue downloading tracks on an “unlimited” basis once the 12 months are up, users need to purchase a new CWM handset.

While the thinking behind CWM has some merit – offer a paid-for music service in a way that “feels like free” and compensates labels and artists accordingly – Nokia’s execution has been poor, at least in the UK (sales elsewhere are reportedly much better), although much of the blame, as always, must rest with the record labels themselves.

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Vodafone Music's DRM-free move makes Apple and Nokia look bad

Vodafone, which currently operates music download stores in over 20 countries, is to become the latest company to jump on the DRM-free bandwagon, announcing this week that it will soon be transitioning its music catalog away from the copy-protected WMA format to standard MP3s. Additionally, customers will be able to covert their existing Vodafone purchases to DRM-free versions at no extra charge, unlike Apple’s current iTunes arrangement where users wishing to ‘upgrade’ are effectively asked to pay twice.

That’s the good news as far as Vodafone is concerned. The bad: only three of the four major record labels are on board – Universal Music Group, Sony Music and EMI – with Warner, for now at least, refusing to join in the fun, and the whole DRM-free deal only applies to a la carte downloads not Vodafone’s MusicStation all-you-can eat subscription service.

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Nokia ramps up music ambitions; three new handsets, Nokia Music Store and 'Comes With Music' expansion

Perhaps to the disdain of mobile carriers, Nokia continues to ramp up its own music offering. Three new music-focused handsets were announced today, along with expansion of the company’s own music download store and all-you-can-eat ‘Comes With Music’ subscription-based offering.

Of the three new handsets, the most interesting is the higher end XpressMusic 5730 (available Q3, €280), which is Nokia’s first music phone to feature a full (slide out) QWERTY keyboard, and just like the 5800, runs the company’s Symbian S60 smartphone OS. The 5730 is being pitched as both a music-centric and messaging – think email, IM and social networking – device, featuring a redesigned home screen that gives shortcut access to the phone’s music library, and the socially-aware ‘contacts’ bar, which is able to pull in the latest communication and RSS feeds from up to 20 of a user’s most important contacts.

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Nokia's Comes With Music is everywhere, but is the message getting through?

Having spent a fair amount of time driving around London over the last few days, one thing is evident: Comes With Music, Nokia’s all-you-can-eat music service, has definitely launched in the UK, backed by a costly ad campaign and a big holiday season push by retail partner Carphone Warehouse (prime time TV ads shown during X Factor, if I recall correctly). But how well is the message getting through?

On that note, I decided to pop into one of Carphone’s larger stores to take a closer peek at the display advertising for Comes With Music — there was plenty of it — and to ask a few subtle questions about how well the concept is resonating with consumers.

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Nokia launches 5800 XpressMusic touchscreen phone (formally known as the "Tube")

At long last, Nokia has taken the wraps off its much anticipated entrance into the touchscreen smartphone space, post-iPhone of course.

The new device – dubbed 5800 XpressMusic – is, as the name suggests, being pitched as a music (and video) centric phone, and is to be the second handset to support the company’s all-you-can-eat music subscription service, Comes With Music, which also officially launched today. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nokia is also emphasizing the 5800’s media production and sharing capabilities, two areas where the company feels it competes strongly against Apple, especially since the iPhone lacks video recording functionality. On that note, the 5800 features a 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens and is capable of 30 frames-per-second video playback and recording.

There’s also the now standard support for Nokia’s ‘Share on Ovi’ web service, which along with the ability to upload to Nokia’s own media sharing site, also supports uploading to Flickr and Facebook. Additionally, music play-lists can be shared via Bluetooth, although this feature will likely only be of real use to Comes With Music subscribers.

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Nokia's all-you-can-eat music service to land in UK first

No carrier support

Nokia’s all-you-can-eat music subscription service, will launch first in the UK next month, but the real news is the lack of carrier support. Instead, Comes With Music will be offered on a pre-pay handset only, the slightly dated Nokia 5310 XpressMusic, sold exclusively through Carphone Warehouse, the same retail chain who in conjunction with 02 have partnered with Apple to sell the iPhone.

Described by Nokia as “a revolutionary way for people to discover and enjoy music”. Comes With Music gives those who purchase a supported handset “unlimited access to the entire Nokia Music Store catalog with the ability to keep all downloaded tracks even after the year is over.” It’s seen as a direct attempt by the world’s number one handset maker to take on Apple’s iPhone/iTunes music service – ironic considering that both offerings will now compete for shelf space at the Carphone Warehouse during the busy Christmas period.

As we’ve noted before, Nokia’s aggressive moves into the ‘services’ space was bound to hit a nerve with carriers who offer their own competing products. According to The Guardian newspaper (via mocoNews), Nokia has touted Comes With Music to all five UK networks, none of whom have found it attractive enough to bite. So far at least.

The major labels on the other hand seem more than willing to play ball. To date, Universal Music, Sony BMG and Warner Music have already signed on, and Nokia is hopeful that EMI will also soon join.

Warner Music jumps on-board Nokia’s all-you-can-eat music plan

Three down, one to go

Warner Music jumps on-board Nokia’s all-you-can-eat music planNokia 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).

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