Part One: Nokia Comes With Music – Too Good to be True? – A Media Event

Nokia Come With Music - Media Event

Imagine this: you buy a phone and it comes with 4 million songs for you to download for free for a year – via your PC or your Nokia phone.  And you get to keep all the tracks even after the service period is over.

It is not a question if what Nokia is attempting to do is revolutionary.  It simply is.  No doubt about it.  The questions are: Is this a step towards revitalizing a dying music industry that the existing business model is unable to cope with the way the mass public consumes music?  And more importantly, what is it in for Nokia and what is it in for you and I?

October last year, I had the privilege to attend the Nokia Remix event when the upcoming Nokia model 5800 XpressMusic was announced.  Last Friday, I have attended the media launch event of “Comes With Music”, had the opportunity to try out the phone one more time and find out more from the Nokia team on this new service.  In part one of this blog entry, you will get to read more on what this service is about.  And in part two that I will publish next, you will get to read my personal take on the impact of this new service in a larger scheme of work.

Comes With Music and the New Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

The new Nokia 5800 XpressMusic touchscreen phone is awesome.  I will not repeat what I have experienced last October.  What I did try out last Friday though was the browser capability.  Intuitively, I touched the screen, moved my thumb up and down and the web page was scrolled accordingly.  Neat.  I tried double clicking onto the page and it zoomed right in.  Very cool!  All by intuition.  I could zoom in and out smoothly via a side bar too.  In case if you wonder from the pictures below what kinky video I was watching, it was nothing R rated.  I opened up YouTube and watched one of the videos from my favorite French artist Mylene Farmer.  When I double clicked onto the video, the player went into full screen mode.  I may consider an unlimited mobile data plan if I have one of these hot babies.

OK.  Some pictures to show taken during the event.  The band All American Rejects was in the house, our local DJ team The Muttons was in the house, the event was held at Velvet Underground, and many were queuing outside for the band to perform live!

Below are some key facts about the new service “Comes With Music”.

  • Selected Nokia phone models including the new 5800 XpressMusic literally comes with music.  You can download any of the 4 million tracks from the Nokia Store for free for a year.  And you get to keep all that you have downloaded via your PC or your mobile devices.
  • Nokia is yet to announce what the service fee for subsequent years is going to be.  I am not sure how often people upgrade their wireless phones.  Personally I hope that Nokia will take this into consideration when they create a service model for “Comes With Music”.
  • You can only listen to the music downloaded via your PC or your wireless phone.  I asked: what if I upgrade my PC?  According to Nokia, I can deactivate my old PC and then active my new PC.  Pretty much like the DRM (digital right management) model that the gaming industry has adopted.  DRM doesn’t go too well with the legitimate paying gamers.  “Comes With Music” is an interesting case because of the shear amount of songs you can potentially download over the service period that come with the phone.  But if “Comes With Music” comes with a price after the first year, it all depends how much it would cost to justify the inconvenience.
  • No, you can’t burn the music onto the CD.  Again, you are not paying a lot for that 4 million song list at least for the first year.
  • What if I need to upgrade my PC after my “Comes With Music” service period is over?  I was told that there is quite a long grace period.  You can still transfer your downloaded tracks from one machine to another.
  • Which are the music giants on board “Comes With Music”?  EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music, as well as Asian independent labels.

Closing Note and Coming Next

Now you have read what “Comes With Music” is as well as get to hear more about the new Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.  I am a passionate music listener and I have had the opportunity to talk with many on the current situation the music industry is facing.  I get to have a better appreciation on what are the different types of listeners out there and their preferred mode of music delivery.  In part two of this blog entry, I will share more on my take on how brilliant Nokia’s move is going up against the successful Apple iTune and its products by defining their own rules and what are the implications.

When Cynthia read the advertisements on the Saturday papers, she got very excited by the new Nokia touchscreen phone that comes with music.  And she asked, “So I can download the entire album of Pussycat Dolls for free?”  I smiled and replied, “Not only that, you have 4 million songs to choose from!”  I looked at the pricing of a new “Comes With Music” Nokia phone and it doesn’t seem excessive.  For what it is worth, you can think of paying a nominal amount that is factored into the price of a phone and that opens up a world of music for you to listen to, a freedom that now you can legally experience.

As you may have noticed by now that I always love to write a small thank you notes on most of the events I have attended.  It is because what I usually enjoy most is the people I come to interact with, time and time again.  So, cheers to the Nokia team especially to the one who was so patiently showcasing the new phone to me last October and again showed me what else 5800 can do last Friday.  And of course to the lovely Text100 team, thanks for the chat and the little walk around at the stage area.  Yes, one day our band would be there and I will get your help!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for part 2.

12 thoughts on “Part One: Nokia Comes With Music – Too Good to be True? – A Media Event”

  1. Superman – Yes, like I mentioned, the price is factored into the phone as a nominal sum I believe. But still, to put a price onto a service that offers unlimited download, I would expect it will cost a lot more but it doesn’t. Hence like I said, I have checked the pricing and it doesn’t seem excessive.

  2. 4 million songs sounds like a lot. Very enticing indeed! Question is, how high is the bit rate of the recordings? And what format is used? When I encode from my own CDs, I usually use 192kbps.

  3. Darkspore – I have downloaded something from the OVI Store last year during the period when I was writing the piece on OVI. The bit rate is decent. Same as what you will get in iTune and same as what my own setting is when I ripe CD. 192kbps as well. It is in MP3 format. But require “activation” from the phone or PC in order to play the downloaded content.

  4. Woo I am not very good with technological stuff but this seems intuitively a good idea, especially thinking of the demands for mobile contents ahead.

    To be associating their brands with music through this service, I wonder if it will be a competitive advantage for Nokia, relative to Sony Ericsson because I remembered for a period Sony Eri is taking the lead from Nokia (not sure for the situtation now). Personally, after getting my first Sony Eri I am stuck to their phones and never gotten back to getting a Nokia’s 😉

    Did Nokia say anything about transferring the songs (4 millions of english or say songs of all languages?) to iPod? (haha sorry that you have to answer these questions on behalf of Nokia).

  5. Si Ying – I think Nokia is the largest mobile phone manufacturer now.

    The downloaded song can only be played in your PC or your Nokia phone. Quite honestly, Cynthia is using an iPod that I bought for her and compare the sound quality with the Nokia phone, my phone has much better quality sound. After I passed my N95 to her, she doesn’t use iPod at all. Partly because it is much easier to carry just one device – the phone – rather than the phone and a MP3 player or iPod.

    In short, if one has bought a Nokia phone that comes with the “Come With Music” unlimited download service for first year, there is little reason for that someone to use an iPod at all in Singapore. You can transfer your ripped music from your iTune music library to a Nokia phone very easily. Nokia phone appears as a memory drive (much like a thumb drive) under your Windows Explorer or Apple OS equivalent. Just drag and drop to transfer!

  6. The music isnt yours. You cant do anything with the music except listen to it on your PC or phone. I wanted to put some songs to listen to in my car onto a cd. I cant do this. I wanted to set a song as my ringtone. I cant do this. And i wanted to sync some songs onto my MP3 player. I cant do this. There isnt much you can do. Your restricted to doing a lot with your own music because of burn and sync rights which you dont get with it and i dont think its fair. I was told i get to keep the music forever and do whatever i wanted with it. This isnt the case. Im annoyed at Nokia for this. Its a good idea but i’d rather buy the music and then be able to do what i want with it. I wouldnt recommend it, to be honest.

    1. CJK – Thanks for your comment. Your observation is right. We cannot duplicate the music tracks as we do with our CDs. And as for any digital contents – be it as computer games and software, movies – there is always a set of terms and conditions attached to them saying that we are not allowed to make copies and etc. Just that in many cases, it is hard to enforce. So what is truly “yours” is hard to define.

      I agree that not able to set songs as our ringtones is stupid. But that could well be the decision of the music distributors. In short, I am more annoyed with the music industry – rather than Nokia. The distribution of music has not been evolved with our modern life. No wonder piracy is so high.

      I like Nokia’s Come With Music because I can listen to so many music tracks of different genres without thinking if it would be a waste if I get that CD. I download about 1,000 tracks a month and have no regret with this service. I think it has saved me a lot of money too as I usually purchase 6 to 12 CDs a month.

      I plug my Nokia phone directly into the car stereo by the way. But for those who are unable to do so, I can understand the frustration.

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