Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Nokia Offer Free Unlimited Music Downloads

Nokia is aiming to take on the growing influence of the Apple iPhone by launching a new series of handsets that enable owners to download to their device and computer, an unlimited number of tracks from their library of over 2 million tracks. The cost of the service is built into the price of the phone, which is estimated to be around €300.

The service expires after one year, requiring customers to purchase a new ‘Comes With Music’ device, but the old handset will continue to work for normal phone use, and previous ly downloaded tracks can still be listened to.

This kind of packaging free music with another product or service is proving to be an interesting future model for the sale of music, aimed at getting to pay for music rather than download it for free. The only way to tackle this issue is to provide a better service than free music downloads offered on illegal P2P networks.

Nokia’s music service uses Microsofts Digital Rights Management and means that music downloaded from Nokia can’t be used on an iPod or the iPhone. This fact coupled with their policy of forcing people to buy a new handset each year, rather than offering customers the chance to pay for a new subscription seems aimed at ensuring more Nokia handsets to combat the increasing influence of the iPhone. But such a strategy goes against why the iPod and iPhone are such great success stories. Remove barriers and make things easier for the user, and you will be far more successful.

Offering a better and open service, where the revenue comes from actually selling the music seems to be a better approach that simply using the free music as a means to incentivize the purchase of a new handset seems short sighted in my opinion. In this environmentally sensitive time, and with a global recession looming, encouraging young kids to throw away technology after one year seems a little excessive.

Either way, expect to see lots more ‘Comes With Free Music’ bundled with everything, as the music industry seeks to revive itself.