Nokia brings DRM-free music to China
Comes With Music reinvented for the market with no upfront fee or restrictions
Published: 8 April, 2010
Nokia's unlimited music subscription service sought to disrupt the iTunes model but has had mixed fortunes in key European markets, where it is likely to be rolled into the broader Ovi Music brand. In emerging economies, however, it has made more impact, and now the handset giant is launching it in China, without DRM (digital rights management).
The CWM service is available in about 30 countries, but with the tracks protected by the Microsoft PlaysForSure DRM system, which limits the devices on which the songs can be played. A year ago, Nokia hinted it would remove DRM to bring the offering to the US, but that plan has not materialized. Instead, China is the first to get a DRM-free service, and certainly has greater growth prospects for CWM, with far less competition from iTunes, Rhapsody and others.
Nokia would not comment on whether it would go DRM-free in existing or new music markets, but sources believe it will take the same stance in India, probably its biggest growth opportunity for content and applications. Like China, it has a high level of piracy, making DRM removal more acceptable to record companies. Nokia is planning to launch CWM in India, but will not confirm whether it will include DRM.
Chinese customers will be able to get music with the Nokia X6 32Gb and X6 16Gb, 5230, 5330, 5800w, 6700s, E52 and E72i. The prices of the phones will start at $185, excluding local taxes and any possible subsidies. These prices do not include an extra fee for CWM. Initially, Nokia offered musicphones in launch markets like the UK with CWM bundled, but for an additional price. This helped deter some users, since the proposition was not clearly explained, and the top line price appeared high. With the recent X6 launch, Nokia removed pre-bundled CWM, which is now an option. In China, with CWM preloaded but, in effect, free, Nokia will be looking for compensation from a boost in volumes and market share; and possibly revenue from advertising or related paid-for services.
Comes With Music China will include content from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, EMI Music and a number of local independent labels, including Huayi Brothers Media Group and Taihe Rye, according to local news agencies.