After running since 2008, Nokia’s “Comes with Music” service, which provided unlimited tunes for a year from Ovi for a significant markup on handsets, has been canceled in 27 countries. China (where it’s DRM-free), India, and Indonesia will continue selling one-year subscription packages, while 6-month subscriptions will still be available in Brazil, Turkey, and South Africa. Nokia blames the closing on consumer demand for DRM-free music, which they also sell through the Ovi store.
Unlike the Zune pass service, once your subscription was up, you could keep your music, though you could only listen to it on your Nokia phone. Unfortunately the added cost when buying a new phone was either not optional, or too expensive to be worth considering, resulting in the news we’re seeing today.
Our resident ex-Nokia dude, Stefan, has been calling this service a fail since it launched, noting the meager 100,000-odd users it managed to attract in a year’s time, and rampant piracy. Personally, I think there’s still a market for clean, commercial music, though iTunes pretty much has that segment on lockdown. There are subscription-based on-demand streaming music services, like Spotify and Grooveshark which stand a good chance at success, since there’s considerably less curating the end-user has to endure. Even cheapskates who don’t want to pay anything can enjoy a lot of decent suggested music minus the on-demand playability plus a few ads through services like Slacker and Pandora.
If you’ve got a “comes with music” phone, you’ll still have access to your tunes until your subscription expires, so better queue those downloads while you can.