Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Redefining The Digital Music Market, One Phone At A Time

Nokia, the world's leading mobile phone supplier and manufacturer of mobile telephones, furthered increased its global domination of mobile music service. 'Comes With Music' is a cell phone-based, Digital Rights Management-free unlimited music download service. Already in 30 countries, Comes With Music is innovative to China as being the world’s first DRM-free unlimited music download service.

Although the service has had a slow start in its other countries (approximately 107,000 subscribers), the market for China, and soon to be India, is a combined potential of 2.5 billion people. That is more than one third of the world’s population! Seeing the potential for millions of would be customers, the service will include catalogues from the four majors: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, EMI Music and more than 70 local independent labels. 50% of the catalogue is expected to be local artists as well.

Besides being the world’s most populated country, what sets China apart from the rest of Nokia’s markets is its current dominance of China’s mobile market. Eight of Nokia’s phones are already available for the service and 80,000 retail stores around the country are carrying the supported devices. Liz Schimel, Global Head of Music, Nokia claims that "This launch delivers a truly mass market music offering from China's most loved mobile brand. Our broad range of Comes With Music enabled devices and the high quality, DRM-free catalogue form the perfect legal download recipe for the world's biggest market for mobile phones."

One of the biggest obstacles Nokia and the music industry face in China is piracy. "Establishing legitimate online music services in emerging markets is imperative for the music industry's ongoing effort to remake itself," says Mike McGuire, Research Vice President, Media IAS Team, Gartner. The success of Comes With Music would be a win for artists, labels, publishers and consumers alike. American artists, labels and publishers now have the opportunity to profit from their catalogue legitimately being in the hands of Chinese music fans. Conversely, Chinese music will be available to the rest of the world with the expansion of the service.

- Steve Jordan

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