Print 26 comment(s) - last by GaryJohnson.. on Dec 10 at 3:54 PM

Buy a phone and get all the free music you want for a year, and keep it -- its magic

At the Nokia World 2007 Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Nokia held a wild announcement.

The company unveiled its new "Comes With Music Program," which offers something unprecedented -- free music from "million of artists" in the "past, present, and future" for anyone who purchases a Nokia device.  Better yet consumers get to keep any or all of this music, for free, forever.

The deal, which sounds somewhat akin to a golden ticket from Willy Wonka, is entirely real, Nokia assures. 

Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Multimedia, Nokia elaborated: "We set out to create the music experience that people are telling us they are looking for - all the music they want in the form of unlimited downloads to their mobile device and PC.  Even if you listened to music 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you would still only scratch the surface of the music that we're making available. Comes with Music fulfills our dream to give consumers all the music they want, wherever they want it, while rewarding the artists who create it."

Universal Music Group, whose owner recently snubbed Apple Inc.'s iTunes is already onboard for launch.  Nokia reports it is in talks with all other major record labels.
UMG CEO Lucian Grainge emoted, "It's fantastic to work with Nokia on Comes With Music.   We feel it's an innovative way for people to discover and enjoy new artists, while at the same time having access to the amazing depth of the Universal catalog. Comes With Music allows our artists to reach new audiences in a very easy and affordable way."

Where the money for this feel good frenzy is coming from is unknown, but there must be a lot of it involved to have UMG so happy go lucky.  Details concerning how Nokia is going to implement this program or its financial agreements with the record labels are scant, but Nokia is backing the service with some big press.

Likely the consumer won't care much, as it sounds like they're about to get an unprecedented deal.  Past free legal music services, such as the recently launched SpiralFrog relied on advertisements.  For this one all you need is a phone, for a year of downloading free love. 

Forget the iPhone, with a deal like this Nokia phones might be the top sellers next year.

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Please return to Earth now.
By treestman on 12/4/2007 6:45:29 PM , Rating: 2
This music is still DRM'ed (no subscription model function without it). The ID that you "own" it after the year is dependant upon one's definition of the word "own".

When the FULL details come out, I'll bet big bucks it will be discovered that unless you continue a Nokia "Comes With Music" contract on a phone, or never change the PC you're using when the phone terms expire, you will lose the music.

There is NO WAY Universa is going to let you download tunes for a year and keep them forever. Period.

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By Master Kenobi on 12/4/2007 7:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
The way Nokia is spinning it, it doesn't matter. They will take a sledge hammer to Apple's iTunes store. It's only a matter of time before the hackers find a way to get it off the phone and into a DRM-Free MP3 format.

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By GaryJohnson on 12/4/2007 8:43:50 PM , Rating: 2
Like a patch cable between the line-out and line-in of a soundcard?

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By Master Kenobi on 12/4/2007 9:01:47 PM , Rating: 2
That's a low tech solution that causes degradation of quality. Surely we are better than that these days... But yea if it came down to it, this would be a solution presented.

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By Etsp on 12/5/2007 11:22:32 AM , Rating: 2

with it's ALT technology, it's quite similar to the patch cable solution, but without nearly as much signal degradation.

Is that high tech enough for you? or do you need your music to be mathematically identical to the original?

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By GaryJohnson on 12/10/2007 3:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
I'm thinking you could go cableless with some Creative sound cards that have the capability to record "What You Hear".

Or, maybe a S/PDIF patch cable on a card with S/PDIF In & Out. There shouldn't be any degredation there because it's digital right?

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By treestman on 12/4/2007 10:42:35 PM , Rating: 3
I disagree. People who want music that bad can already get it free via numerous P2P options. Why waste time cracking a DRM code?

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By jtesoro on 12/7/2007 5:34:48 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Also, if you're not on an unlimited data plan, downloading tracks on your phone could end up being very expensive. Those who are really able to take advantage of this are those on "unlimited" plans. Even then, you might hit the hidden limits that your operator imposes, and that would impact even your browsing usage.

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By spluurfg on 12/4/2007 10:48:28 PM , Rating: 2
Erm, my guess is that the sort of people who are willing to 'hack' the DRM and get the songs off the phone aren't going to be the people loading up on the iTunes store anyway... so I think my prediction is that iTunes store will survive.

Besides, if the service only works on your nokia handset, somebody's going to have to pay for the bandwidth. I'm skeptical Nokia could pay for the data allowance required for everyone to download all this stuff for free. Most 'unlimited' internet data plans for mobile services have acceptable use policies taping out at around 1-200mb/month, which isn't that many songs. T-mobile gives 1gb though.

By Shining Arcanine on 12/4/2007 10:52:32 PM , Rating: 3
The article says "unlimited downloads to their mobile device and PC," so it would seem that Nokia has already taken care of the getting "it off the phone" part.

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By tallcool1 on 12/5/2007 2:59:02 AM , Rating: 2
This makes no sense at all.
Universal is unhappy at Apple for charging a flat fee of 99cents a song, in which they get 70cents of. Yet, they are willing to give away there music to customers for FREE through Nokia???

By Master Kenobi on 12/5/2007 8:49:34 AM , Rating: 2
Nokia could be paying them a nice sum of money, or Universal wants to sink the iTunes store.

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By defter on 12/5/2007 6:45:14 AM , Rating: 3
When the FULL details come out, I'll bet big bucks it will be discovered that unless you continue a Nokia "Comes With Music" contract on a phone, or never change the PC you're using when the phone terms expire, you will lose the music.

Perhaps you should read a press release before spreading FUD:
"During the event the company announced Nokia Comes With Music, a revolutionary program that enables people to buy a Nokia device with a year of unlimited access to millions of tracks from a range of great artists - past, present and future. Once the year is complete, customers can keep all their music without having to worry about it disappearing when their subscription is over.

You don't have to continue using this service.

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By murphyslabrat on 12/5/2007 11:24:33 AM , Rating: 2
The question is, though, that once the 1-year-term is over, any changes in PC/phone/other player will cause the music to be unplayable--because of DRM's. So, while it is possible to have the songs forever, it would be severely limiting.

Furthermore, if you could copy or transfer them within the terms of the agreement, you would legally have the music for free, forever. So, it would be worth the effort.

RE: Please return to Earth now.
By jtesoro on 12/7/2007 5:46:23 AM , Rating: 2
Nokia did say that you can keep the music even after the subscription expires. It would be a huge PR mess if they made the music unplayable after a year and banked on the logic that "You can keep the music, you just can't play it!" That's not a game Nokia would play I think.

It amazes me.....
By Vanilla Thunder on 12/5/2007 10:01:10 AM , Rating: 2
That even with an announcement like this, which seems pretty damn good to me, the skeptics and nay-sayers still prefer to fabricate some "what if's" without any factual basis, rather than to just say , "Wow, a free year of music ain't bad." Who cares if it's DRM'd. Who cares if it has a watermark. You'll still get to listen to it FOR FREE . Commence whining.


RE: It amazes me.....
By Enoch2001 on 12/5/2007 10:18:47 AM , Rating: 2
Commence whining...

Any downloadable music with DRM is a massive problem, as I don't want to be told where and on what devices I am allowed to listen to my music. I'll wait to see what kind of DRM it is infected with first...

RE: It amazes me.....
By Vanilla Thunder on 12/5/2007 11:16:11 AM , Rating: 2
There's a simple solution for you. Buy CD's. BTW, it is a horrible DRM. It's the Microsoft "Plays for Sure" DRM. Couldn't get much worse than that one. After hearing that, it does leave a sour taste in my mouth.


RE: It amazes me.....
By Etsp on 12/5/2007 11:24:22 AM , Rating: 2
My Sony Walkman supports it at least =/

data plan tax and watermarks
By GeorgeOrwell on 12/4/2007 9:41:47 PM , Rating: 2
Nokia is experimenting with a data plan version of the "media tax" that is placed on blank recording media.

"Comes with music" will be free music, but not a free data plan. So some portion of that data plan will be treated as the "tax" on the media is today.

Of course each song will be watermarked for that particular phone, so any "liberation" of this content will have to take into account removing the watermark. I doubt "Comes with music" will be available on any phones that are not bought with a contract. So if watermarks are not removed, there will be a very easy way to identify the source of the music.

There may also be limitations on the ability of most users to get "Comes with music" music off of their phones. If the "Comes with music" program is limited to the small amount of memory on most cell phones, then it is not much of a big deal.

In any case, it is good to see some experimentation with making music available in different ways. A mobile phone is probably not anyone's #1 choice for how to get their music, but "Comes with music" may provide enough benefit to the consumer so that the iPhone does not further impact the sales of Nokia phones. This will be especially important when the new models of the iPhone come out next year.

RE: data plan tax and watermarks
By PandaBear on 12/5/2007 2:10:00 AM , Rating: 2
That make sense, just ask you to pay more for a data plan and give a cut back to the record label and nokia.

I think they will rely on external storage, micro-SD slot is cheap and cards are dime a dozen, if they "DRM" it and store it in the card, then you can back them up to your PC. The phone will be the same cost as a regular phone so I doubt any increase in price. If anything it will get even more subsidize because you are buying a higher priced data plan to get musics.

The problem still remains: cell phone is not the most convenient way to listen to music, and battery life sucks compare to a dedicate MP3 player.

RE: data plan tax and watermarks
By defter on 12/5/2007 6:47:17 AM , Rating: 2
There are data connections available to mobile phones where data transfer is not limited at all.

I'm 100% sure that this "comes with music" will work with all phones (including non-crippled ones). Why Nokia the phone manufacturer would want to pass money to operators???

By iFX on 12/4/2007 6:20:06 PM , Rating: 4
What a kick in the nuts to Apple...

What about carrier subsidized phones?
By fk49 on 12/4/2007 7:20:35 PM , Rating: 2
Any idea if the phone you get has to be retail (e.g. full price and unlocked)? Nokia's high ends like the N95 and N80 are sweet phones, but they're mostly eschewed by the public because they cost hundreds of dollars more than the cheap subsidized phones from AT&T and T-Mobile. Unless Nokia also got the carriers in on this deal, it's not going to go anywhere fast.

By defter on 12/5/2007 6:50:08 AM , Rating: 2
LOL, those "cheap" phones from AT&T and T-mobile are usually more expensive than unlocked phones in the long run. Buying a cheap locked phone is like taking a loan (you pay a little in the beginning and then little more every month).

There are many people who spend several hundreds of dollars on computers, digital cameras or cell phones. Price of the phones is not really an issue.

By wwwebsurfer on 12/4/2007 6:39:37 PM , Rating: 3
Buy a phone and get all the free music you want for a year, and keep it -- its magic

best lead-in I've ever seen...

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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