Nokia’s fatally flawed ‘Comes With Music’ service no Apple ‘iTunes Store killer’

“Nokia’s ‘Comes With Music’ service, and while the proposition may appear attractive, it’s already being slammed as ‘fatally flawed’ by some detractors,” Jonny Evans reports for Macworld UK.

“How it works: Nokia Comes With Music offers a year of unlimited access to music all within the Pay As You Go handset cost of £129.95. It launches 16 October,” Evans reports.

“The service allows tracks to be downloaded directly to your computer, from where they can then be transferred to the handset. Downloaded tracks can be kept on the handset or PC – but that’s where the problems begin,” Evans reports.

“Customers must register their PC and their Comes With Music device to their account before any content can be downloaded and content can then only be downloaded/synchronised between the two devices registered to the account at any one time,” Evans reports.

“Once the year’s subscription is complete, customers can keep all of their music – but two years after that one year period, users will be able to keep the content on their current device/PC but will no longer be able to transfer it to other computers,” Evans reports. “And, because the music is shrouded in DRM, they won’t be able to burn it to CD or keep it in some other way – in other words, the music won’t belong to them forever.”

Full article here.

Heavily-DRM’ed music stuck in an old device with a very limited lifespan doesn’t sound at all ‘unlimited’ to us.


  1. @Crazylegs
    “Why can’t people just get that we want to OWN our music. BUY it once, listen to it forever. What is so hard about that?”

    The labels and the phone makers do know this. That’s why they call their services by misleading names, such as “unlimited”, and “comes with music” (neither of which are true in Nokia’s example).

    These companies pump out their poorly-designed, disposable electronics, shaped like Apple products, and then employ misleading advertising in an attempt to fool just enough people into buying their crap so that they can again create a tidy profit for their fiscal report for yet another year.
    These companies know what you and I want, and they know that they are not giving it to us, and they know that they are operating as slime bags. They don’t care as long they make money and don’t go to jail.

    The one company that doesn’t operate that way and is finally being rewarded for it;

  2. Here’s the reasoning behind this stupidity: Nokia is selling this phone together with an upfront pre-paid three-year all-you-can-eat music subscription plan (like Napster, or Rhapsody). You buy the phone, you’re automatically subscribed. Their bet is that the phone won’t last more than three years and you’ll replace with another device, paying that subscription again.

    Nokia (and the labels) are hoping they’ll ensnare a customer using this lure and get them hooked forever by making it appear as if they’re getting a free music subscription with every phone they buy.

    Good luck with that, Nokia (and labels).

  3. My question is how is buying a $300USD device provide greater revenue or financial incentive for a label than what they would earn from 3 years of digital sales from ITMS or Amazon?

    I would consider anyone who buys the Comes With Music (aka Hasastupidname) a “music lover.” Being a music lover myself, I would say that I buy at lest 6-10 albums (not singles) from iTunes per year. So, using a back-of-the-envelope analysis, on the low end that would be gross revenue of $180. 30% goes to Apple, .9% goes to copyright and the rest, $114.66 goes to the label. Are the labels getting that much from that initial price? And how many people are realistically going to buy that particular phone?

  4. Renting music is a stupid idea, no-one likes it and yet STILL they keep trying.

    It takes time, effort, taste and intelligence to build a collection of music that works for you – it will come in various formats: CD, tape, digital, ‘stolen’, legit.
    You get it from friends, iTunes, music shops, parents old records, P2P, etc.

    Nokia and all the other dolts in 50’s business suits and bad haircuts treat music as if its just like rice or gasoline. Its not.

    Its not a commodity – its art, or something vaguely like art.

    How these ugly people would like it if we simply transferred $50 a month to them and recieved our legal dose of music, movies and tv shows.

    Nokia and their ilk are tasteless stupid wankers.

  5. That’s about the most convoluted DRM scheme anyone could think up. DRM is best (or at least tolerable) when most people do not run into its restrictions during normal use. That’s Apple”s Fairplay.

  6. “Renting music is a stupid idea, no-one likes it and yet STILL they keep trying.”

    So’s downloading low quality DRMed files in a proprietary format. Which explains why an average of only 10 songs in every iPod worldwide are purchased through iTunes.

    Arguably all online music services except P2P music sharing have been a massive failure.

    “Transferred $50 a month”

    Who’s asking for $50/month? Nokia’s asking for 129 pounds for a cellphone, with 2 years of music (and strong restrictions on transfer after that). That comes down to about 5 pounds per month (not assigning any value to the cellphone or the usage after 2yrs). And if you like stealing music to keep it forever it should take you about 5 minutes to figure out how to subvert the DRM.

    If Apple offered a $5/month $60/year subscription to “all you can eat” iTunes, I think you’d see a lot of people shift in favor of rent vs buy.

  7. “If Apple offered a $5/month $60/year subscription to “all you can eat” iTunes, I think you’d see a lot of people shift in favor of rent vs buy.”

    It’s possible, and it’s possible it would fail just like the rest of the also-rans. Renting music depends on DRM, and iTunes DRM has already been hacked several times.

    All it takes is 1 time for 600 million customers to suddenly have easy access to an all-you-can download buffet of free music they can keep after canceling their subscription.

    That aside, it is telling that this “feature” is one that labels consistently want and push for and consumers repeatedly reject. That tells the story right there.


    I am telling you now, today, Oct 4 2008, that this scheme is going to backfire on you big time. BIG TIME.

    – WHEN your customers appreciate that they have been ripped off and misled by your marketing slogans…

    – WHEN your customers have been confused to hell and gone by what they can and can’t do with this “unlimited” music…

    – WHEN they complain and get told to read the small print…

    Nokia’s name will be mud. And it’ll be hard to recover the brand’s trust ever again.

    This is the worst thing Nokia has ever done. No doubt.

    If I were on their Board I’d resign over this one.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.