Nokia to launch music services in India

The handset maker plans to set up a new mechanism to give consumers a chance to download music free of cost for a year

Imagine a world where you could download your music for free and not pay a single pie. A world where you could download as many songs as you wanted, a scenario where whole albums from a whole range of artistes, both local and international, can be downloaded completely free of cost. Does this sound too good to be true?

Finnish mobile handset maker, Nokia, is planning to launch a new music service 'Comes With Music' with its cell phones which will enable its customers to download free and unlimited music from its online store, in a move to combat piracy and create a wider base in its already prominent presence in India.

”We need to fight piracy by making the content compelling, relevant & exclusive, and use subscription models which are almost free," said Nokia India's marketing director, Vineet Taneja.

With the launch of the music service, consumers will get access to unlimited music downloads from the Nokia Music Store for a year, Mr Taneja said. He added that Nokia will offer 3.5 million tracks of all genres, from Indian and international labels.

The Nokia Music Store has been live in India since July 2009. The Nokia music software also supports Indian languages including Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Sanskrit, Konkani, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Hindi.

The company has tied up with independent Indian record labels including T-Series, Venus, Tips, Big Music, Eros and Indian Music Industry (IMI).

Customers can either download their music using General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) or over wireless Internet. They can also hook up their handset on a personal computer for downloads, Mr Taneja said.

Analysts believe that Nokia’s plan will increase youth appeal towards the brand and help it to compete with players like Samsung, Siemens and LG.

“The consumer would be able to get free music for a year from Nokia’s online store. The device will be available within the first half of this year,” Mr Taneja said.

The service will be offered on two models: a mid-end and a top-end handset. A mid-end model would cost somewhere between Rs6,000 to Rs10,000, Mr Taneja said. A top-end model would cost more than Rs15,000.

According to industry experts, the value-added services (VAS) business largely remains unexplored in the country and is worth $1.60 billion in India. Music has remained the mainstay of VAS revenues, bringing in as much as 90% of the overall pie—the remaining 10% includes ring tones, caller tunes and games.

Experts believe that the mobile phone has a big advantage over the PC in India for driving value-added content as the country has a huge base of cell phone users.
In worldwide mobile phone sales, Nokia leads the pack with a 36% market share. Samsung is in the second place with 19% share and LG has 10% of the market. The rest of the market is cornered by players like Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Apple.

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