Competition in the smartphone market is heating up, and Nokia is staking its claim by offering free, unrestricted music downloading in China. The Comes with Music program will provide users with a free 12 month subscription, according to the Wall Street Journal. What does this mean for Nokia users? Free downloads of mp3 files with no digital-rights management technology. Free use and sharing. An incredible deal, and one that American users would like to get their hands on too.
Comes with Music is available in Russia, Brazil, and Indonesia, and is set to launch in India. China’s release differs in the complete freedom offered. Users in the thirty other markets in the world will be limited to use on one personal computer and one Nokia handset. When Chinese user subscriptions expire, Nokia says that it will offer them different options for continued use, though they may have to buy a new handset. Currently, the Comes with Music-equipped phones cost about $187 (140 euros), though cheaper handsets may be on the horizon.
Nokia is the largest cell phone vendor in China, which is the biggest market in the world, and they want to keep it like that. Growing competition from Apple and Google’s Android system is pushing Nokia to offer its users more incentive to keep them on top. Other features include navigation and its internet service, Ovi.
Why is Nokia able to provide free downloads to its customers when that would be virtually impossible to do in the US market, as well as much of Europe? For one thing, they’re working in conjunction with Huadong Feitian, a Chinese music service. Huadong Feitian says it holds the appropriate licenses to distribute digital music from the Chinese government.
For another, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and EMI are all on-board because they are willing to chance it with the huge Chinese market. The massive and technologically-bent country has more internet users than any other country in the world. It is not uncommon in China for users to access unrestricted ad-supported music downloading and streaming services. In the face of declining recorded music sales, the labels are willing to experiment with the China market to gain a foothold in the digital market.
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