Nokia (Mostly) Kills Comes With Music / Ovi Music Downloads

It's hard to compete against Apple. A few years back, SanDisk's CEO stated that no one could "out iPod the iPod," and to this day, everyone that has tried hasn't succeeded. Even Microsoft has let the Zune family die down, despite spending tons of cash marketing it as a major iPod competitor. Apple has just been on fire over the last decade, and hardly anything from Cupertino has been more successful than iTunes. It didn't take long for iTunes to trump Wal-mart as America's largest seller of music, and now that it is expanded internationally, who knows what record iTunes will grab next. It's clear that digital downloads are the future of music distribution, but with today's announcement about Nokia, it's even clearer that competing against iTunes itself is no easy chore.

Back in early 2009, right around two years ago, Nokia announced that their unlimited music service (Comes With Music) would be hitting the international scene. Phones that were CmW-equipped could download all the tracks they wanted for a year after buying the phone, and after that year, users would be able to simply keep the tracks. It sounds like a decent plan. The only problem is that Nokia phone sales are down, and even those that purchased them weren't interested in working with yet another digital download service.

A Reuters report today notes that Nokia will be soon ending the bundling of Comes With Music / Ovi Music downloads in 27 countries. The only countries where it will remain an option for purchase is in India, Indonesia, Brazil, China and South Africa. It's possible that the services gained traction in those countries, but it's clear that it wasn't such a hit elsewhere. According to the report, Nokia saw "lackluster performance" from both of the platforms, with DRM implementations hindering adoption as well as software that was "difficult to understand." A Nokia spokesperson said the following: "The markets clearly want a DRM-free music service."

That's probably true. People hate dealing with music files that can only be played back on certain devices or a certain amount of times. It's unclear whether Nokia will try to re-launch these services as DRM-free offerings, but our gut says 'no.' Apple seems to be dominating that market, and with Nokia's phone share sliding, they probably have other things to worry over.
Tags:  Nokia, itunes, music, DRM, Sales