Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:21 UK

Slow start for Nokia's music plan

By Rodrigo Davies
6 Music News reporter

Nokia N95
Nokia's Comes With Music is available in Australia, France, Singapore, Sweden and the UK.

Nokia's all-inclusive Comes With Music mobile service has been much slower to attract UK consumers than expected, according to an industry consultancy.

Music Ally claimed yesterday that Comes With Music has won 23,000 British subscribers since launching last year.

Nokia has refused to confirm the figures and said that it has not released data on subscriber numbers.

Paul Brindley from Music Ally made the figures public at an Association of Independent Music conference in London.

Brindley told 6 Music the statistics were a "big disappointment" to the music industry.

"If anything I was rather kind in not saying it was a complete catastrophe. It's a big disappointment because very rarely, if ever, have we seen a digital music service that's been so widely promoted in the mainstream media," he said.

We're going to continue to develop the model and fine tune how we market it.
Tim Grimsditch from Nokia Music

Tim Grimsditch, head of product marketing for Nokia Music, was at the same event and gave his response to the figures.

"We didn't release those numbers so we can't confirm them," he explained. "It's a very new business model, we're live in five markets and the numbers only mention one. We're going to continue to develop the model and fine tune how we market it."

Mr Grimsditch said he was confident that Nokia would have "significant successes" to report from the service in six months' time.

Consumers who buy a Nokia Comes With Music phone get either 12 or 18 months of unlimited music downloads to their mobile phone, and the subscription is included in the price of the handset.

Although tracks bought through Comes With Music can be kept by the user, they are protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM) software which means that they can't be copied onto other devices.

Earlier this month Apple removed DRM protection from all music, sold through its iTunes store.

Mr Brindley, from Music Ally, said he believed Nokia's use of DRM was one of the problems with the mobile music service.

"People just want to be able to do what they want to do with the music. Consumers will ask, why can't I put this on my iPod? Obviously, Nokia wants to use this as a way to get people away from using music on their iPods," he said. "But as a music service in itself, Comes With Music just hasn't hit the mark."

Mr Brindley said that Nokia is still more successful than Apple in selling its mobile phone handsets.

Figures released by Nokia last week showed that globally it is currently shipping a million of its flagship 5800 XpressMusic handsets a month alone.

Apple said it sold around 13 million iPhone handsets in 2008.

Grimsditch said that he believed the launch of Comes With Music had been most successful in Singapore, where no subscriber figures have been made public.

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