Friday, April 24, 2009

UK Nokias Don't 'Come With Music' Very Often...Perhaps It's A Blessing

The Register has a story today about how Nokia's "Comes With Music" bundle has been a dud so far with UK consumers...with only 23k takers since last October. The service, which allows consumers with certain handsets to download unlimited DRM-protected tracks over a 12 or 18 month period (depending on package) for use in perpetuity, has been a major (and much-hyped) component of Nokia's music content strategy. The story attributes lackluster interest to the fact the service initially rolled out with an older 2G 5310 handset (what were they thinking?), and to a retail channel that can't sell the proposition to the consumer. Things should improve as Nokia has now made the offer available on the much sexier N95 8GB..and hopefully soon on the XpressMusic 5800. That said, they may not want the service to get too successful, as they have to pay the music labels ~$1 per song (after some pre-negotiated threshold), which means that high volume users could quite easily transform this reverse razorblade model into an expensive handset manufacturer handset subsidy (i.e. Nokia would be paying consumers to buy their handsets and give them free music). If this scenario does play out they should probably re-brand the initiative "Comes With Madness".

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