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Nokia kills Comes With Music in all but six countries

Nokia had bold ambitions for its Comes With Music service, launched in 2008 as a challenge to iTunes

By PETER WHITE

Published: 20 January, 2011

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Nokia had bold ambitions for its Comes With Music service, launched in 2008 as a challenge to iTunes. It offered a subscription service with unlimited streaming and some keep-forever downloads, and was often preloaded with key handsets like the Tube. However, although it was genuinely disruptive in concept, CWM's proposition was poorly communicated in developed markets and now Nokia is pulling back from the offering. It will stop selling the service, now called Ovi Music Unlimited, in 27 of the 33 countries where it is on offer.

While CWM lagged behind iTunes and other music services in Europe and other key areas, it has been very successful in certain large emerging economies, where there is less installed base for Apple's platform, and Nokia has boosted growth with subsidized or free content. In the most successful of these territories - China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa - Nokia will continue to offer Ovi Music Unlimited.

These are all markets where Nokia has huge handset market share and a good chance of establishing itself as the premier brand for mobile music, because alternatives like iTunes or the streaming service Spotify have not made much effort as yet. Consumers in China, India and Indonesia will still be offered 12-month subscriptions, while in the other countries, the commitment time will be reduced to six months. In other markets, consumers who have purchased a compatible phone will be able to use the service until the subscription ends, and keep the tracks they have downloaded.

Nokia said it would still build up music content within its Ovi portal and web services, and is promising to launch new mobile music services this year. The existing Nokia Music Store, in which individual tracks are downloaded, will be unchanged and it seems likely that the Finnish giant will next look at a cloud-based offering mainly focused on streaming, which would also have a better chance than a downloads-based platform in differentiating from Apple.

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