Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Nokia on Tuesday launched a service where consumers get access to an entire music catalog when they buy a device. Nokia announced a similar pact with Universal Music in December.
The effort, dubbed Nokia Comes With Music, is another attempt to find a workable business model for music labels and erode some of the dominance enjoyed by Apple's iTunes juggernaut. The big question is whether consumers will pay extra for an embedded music catalog on a device once the bundle ends.
Under the arrangement, consumers get a year's worth of Sony BMG's catalog when they buy a Nokia device. The idea is that consumers will buy a Nokia device, sample multiple tunes and boost demand at some point in the future. Will it work? The idea isn't a bad one, but it's unclear whether consumers will alter their behavior and subscribe to their music. Some key points:
- If you buy a Nokia device in the program you'll get a year's worth of Sony BMG's catalog. Consumers can download songs to their mobile devices and computers for the first year they own the device.
- At the end of a year, you can keep your downloaded tracks and transfer material "should they purchase a new compatible device or computer." Nokia says: "Music fans who participate in the Comes With Music experience will be able to keep their downloads on their device and/or computer for the rest of their lives." The monkey wrench here is that it's not clear what qualifies as a compatible device and there's DRM involved.
- After the year, consumers can continue to buy songs from the Nokia Music Store or move to an unlimited access subscription service.
The service launches in the second half of 2008.