Nokia’s Comes with Music service has seen only limited success on the world stage, and a recent revelation that a U.S. launch of the service will be postponed until 2010 pushes back further the potential for this iTunes challenger to gain successful inroads.
Comes with Music has been successful for Nokia it emerging markets — those places where mobile penetration is high and the use of services such as iTunes are few and far in-between. It has also helped that in these emerging markets, Nokia is a trusted brand and leader for enabling mobile-oriented solutions.
This same success has been harder to come by in developed markets due to strong competition, and especially the foothold by the segment leader, Apple’s iTunes platform. Similar to iTunes, Comes with Music is a music purchasing and sharing service. However, unlike iTunes and other services, Comes with Music is currently limited to Nokia’s Symbian devices — and not all of them, but just certain devices.
These “Comes with Music” devices have additional software and licensing features that enable them to utilize the DRM-attached music files for the duration of the license, usually 12-18 months. After that time period, the license expires, and the user has total ownership of all of the music they have purchased for that device in that time span.
The Comes with Music license also has special conditions for sideloading — taking music from PC-based environments to Nokia devices — and for making additional copies of those purchased tracks — either by burning them to a CD/DVD or transferring the license to another Comes with Music mobile device. Depending on the region and licensing terms, there may be a cost for these additional features.
The Forbes article that initially broke news of this delay states that while this might be a note of bad news for the short term, in the long term view of Comes with Music in the U.S., this is good for Nokia in that it gives time to polish the service offerings, and enable it across a wider range of devices.
It is not known if there are any carrier talks that might have played a hand in this delay, but due to Nokia’s recent push into Verizon and AT&T carrier decks, it would seem as if a delay in the service might be a signal towards Nokia obtaining some positive news in that direction.
Nokia’s Comes with Music service and devices are currently available in 9 countries including Great Britain, Singapore, and France. Other countries are most probably soon to announce support, but there has been no indication from Nokia when those announcements would come, or what countries/carriers would be potential avenues for this service.