Sony BMG Signs Up To Nokia Free Music Downloads Service

Sony BMG has joined Universal Music Group in signing up to Nokia’s “Comes With Music” program that was announced in December. Under the scheme customers who buy certain Nokia handsets are given a year of unlimited music downloading, after which they can sign up for a subscription based service.

Sony’s entire catalogue, from Britney Spears and the Foo Fighters through to Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, will be available to download for free onto both handsets and PCs. The music will not, however, be able to be put onto other non-compatible devices such as iPod’s. The user will be able to keep the music after the initial 12-month free period is up, and they can continue to use the system either by paying for songs one by one, or by subscription.

"When you give consumers the key to the candy store without any limitations, there’s a lot more opportunity for discovering music that you might not have found before," Thomas Hesse, president of global digital business and U.S. sales for Sony BMG Music Entertainment, told The Associated Press. "We think this will energize the discovery of music."

Nokia says that it expects all the major record labels to sign on to Comes With Music, which will launch in the second half of the year. The company has not yet outlined which models will Come with Music or what kind of pricing we can expect for the service… Or even precisely which territories it will be present in. Naturally one can expect to see it in the U.S. and large portions, if not all, of Europe.

The move by record labels towards a service like Comes With Music shows their increasing willingness to adopt new business models in the face of falling record sales and the dominance of illegally downloaded music. Comes With Music opens up a legitimate avenue for consumers to attain music “for free” whilst giving the record companies a slice of the action through the handset sales and potential return subscription customers after the year is up.

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