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Warner signs up for Nokia’s music service

01 июля 2008

Nokia’s “all you can eat” mobile music service gained momentum on Monday with the addition of Warner Music, the third-largest record company.

Warner’s participation means Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, has enlisted three of the four largest record groups as it prepares to launch Comes with Music later this year. The lone holdout among the majors, EMI, is in talks.

For Warner, whose chief executive, Edgar Bronfman, has long touted the potential of mobile phones for ailing music companies, the Nokia deal represents an opportunity to test that belief on a broad scale.

“This is probably the most important deal of its kind that we’ve done so far,” said Michael Nash, Warner’s chief of digital strategy.

Mr Nash added that the Nokia deal could pave the way for similar deals with other carriers.

“You can assume we’re talking to all of our business partners,” he said.

Consumers who buy Nokia phones featuring Comes with Music will be allowed to download as many songs as they like from Universal Music, Sony-BMG and Warner for a year.

At the end of that period, Nokia is hoping that they will pay a subscription fee to maintain access to new music, or purchase additional songs à la carte from its online music store.

Nokia executives have said that even if only a small percentage of the group’s devices are sold with Comes with Music, annual revenues would exceed $4bn, equivalent to last year’s total digital music sales.

“Our belief is that consumers will be very attracted to this offering when they don’t have to go through a toll booth every time they want a new track,” said Liz Schimel, Nokia’s global head of music.

Warner and other music companies have been scrambling to generate new digital revenues as sales of compact discs collapse.

Although online subscription services have been slow to gain traction, mobile phones have generated optimism because of their ubiquity and because operators have established billing relationships with customers.

The Warner-Nokia pact came as Verizon Wireless said it would offer Rhapsody’s subscription service on its mobile phones, allowing customers access to more than 5m songs for a monthly fee.

Источник: Financial Times

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