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Nokia guts Ovi Music Unlimited after failed iTunes rivalry

01/17, 7:40am

Nokia to drop Comes With Music in most countries

Nokia on Monday faced a symbolic embarrassment in its media strategy as it said it would drop Ovi Music Unlimited in 27 of its 33 countries. The bundled music plan, originally known as Comes With Music, will disappear from the UK and most of its major countries once subscriptions run out. The company wouldn't fully elaborate on what triggered the shutdown but partly blamed it on the Windows Media copy protection labels wanted for the service to work.

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Nokia X3 Touch and Type mixes dialpad and touchscreen

08/17, 7:25am

Nokia X3 T and T gives cheap, thin touch phone

Nokia this morning launched a unique entry level touchscreen phone. The X3 Touch and Type (X3-02) is a major revamp of the original X3 that moves to a candybar design with both a number pad and a touchscreen. It's conceived as ideal for simple uses by keeping an obvious touch interface for browsing, media and simply navigating the OS but a hardware shortcut for dialing and text.

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Only 2% of phone users download music away from computers

05/19, 6:25pm

Nokia's Ovi Music hurt by phone-heavy focus

Direct downloads make up just a sliver of the music actually loaded on phones, comScore discovered today. About 24 percent of all phones are used to play music, but just two percent actually obtained that music from a store found on the phone itself. The remaining 22 percent of phone owners sideloaded the music from a computer either manually or through a sync app like iTunes.

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Nokia makes Comes With Music DRM-free in China

04/08, 8:55am

Nokia's unlimited music now without protection

Nokia tried to rekindle interest in Comes With Music today by launching it in China without copy protection. The service still lets customers buy a phone with a year of unlimited downloads attached but now won't use Windows Media DRM to guard those tracks, letting them freely copy the songs even after the subscription ends. Whether these would still use Microsoft's format or rely on a more ubiquitous format like MP3 wasn't said.

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Nokia denies rumors of Comes With Music being rebranded

03/26, 3:40pm

Comes With Music not being renamed: Nokia

A recent rumor that Nokia has rebranded its Comes With Music service to Ovi Music Unlimited in the UK has been denied by the company. Following a change in its Indian website that hinted at a possible change, the company said just that the regular online music store will now be called Ovi Music rather than Nokia Music Store in the UK and Ireland, with other countries getting the newly named store before the spring. All 22 countries where Nokia is sold will receive the Ovi brand in 2010.

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Warner to back away from free streaming services

02/10, 12:25pm

Warner CEO rejects streaming without pay

Warner Music Group chief Edgar Bronfman has cautioned that his label is likely to avoid free streaming music services. He expects to only offer music through paid services and says that free streaming services are "not net positive." He stopped short of saying Warner would quit existing services like Spotify or of flatly rejecting future free deals.

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Nokia makes X6 16GB official, minus Comes With Music

01/26, 10:50am

Nokia officially announces, dates X6 16GB phone

The very recently rumored 16GB X6 handset has now been officially unveiled by Nokia on Tuesday. Unlike previously believed, the device will be available in four color schemes instead of just three, with an all-white model the omission and white with yellow highlights replacing the previously believed white with blue variation. At the same time, Nokia has confirmed the device will not include the Comes With Music download service.

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Nokia readying X6 16GB with more colors

01/25, 4:55pm

Nokia to out 16GB X6 with new color options

Nokia will soon release a 16GB version of its X6 handset in a number of new colors, according to tech journalist and the editor of Mobile-Review, Eldar Murtazin. The device should be available in black, pink on white or blue on white and will be significantly less expensive than the 32GB version at the equivalent of about $500 versus $640. This is due to the smaller capacity, the lack of a headset and the likelihood of going without Nokia's Comes With Music service.

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Nokia hopes to beat iPhone, BlackBerry by 2011

01/04, 11:45am

Nokia claims new hardware and services key

Nokia will catch up to and hopefully beat Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's BlackBerry within the next year, its mobile division chief Rick Simonson said in an interview published today. He acknowledges that a gap has existed that has led to a loss in market share but is confident when telling the India Times that the losses have stabilized and that Nokia is actually recovering quickly. He points out that sales of Eseries phones like the E75 are three times larger than for the BlackBerry and that both it and the iPhone are relatively narrow focus devices where Nokia's broader focus could help it win.

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Nokia upgrades with 5235 Comes With Music

12/11, 9:15am

Nokia intros 5235 CWM handset for Europe

Nokia on Friday introduced a new handset, the 5235 Comes With Music, which serves as an effective upgrade to the existing 5230 phone. The new model brings Comes With Music ready to go and can take unlimited downloads for as long as 1.5 years, all of which can be kept after the subscription ends. The 5235 has a 3.2-inch touchscreen and the battery life to play back 33 hours of music, which can be stored on a 16GB microSDHC memory card.

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Nokia ships X6 Comes with Music edition

11/26, 10:25am

Nokia X6 available with unlimited music

Nokia today said that the X6 Comes with Music edition is now shipping. The media phone is Nokia's most advanced to support the unlimited subscription service and, with 32GB of internal storage, could theoretically download and keep about 7,000 songs without paying extra beyond the price of the Comes with Music phone itself. The phone can as always either buy tracks through Nokia or sync with a Mac or PC.

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Nokia's Comes With Music at just 107,227 users

10/16, 7:45am

Nokia CWM service has poor uptake

New figures provided to music labels show Nokia's Comes With Music unlimited music service has had a relatively poor uptake despite having a year to expand. Data from July obtained by Music Ally shows just 107,227 active users worldwide for the service, which lets buyers of specially-labeled phones get a year's worth of unlimited music downloads they can keep after the subscription ends. The news comes despite heavy promotion by Nokia and the support of all the major music labels.

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Nokia delays Comes With Music for US

09/01, 7:45am

Nokia CWM Delayed in US

Nokia late yesterday revealed through a spokeswoman that the company will delay the launch of its Comes With Music unlimited subscription service in the US. Once on tap for 2009, the launch has now been postponed until sometime in 2010. No reason has been given for the delay, which comes almost a year after the initial promise of a later release.

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RIM to launch own online music service

07/13, 10:00am

RIM music service coming

BlackBerry handset maker Research in Motion (RIM) will reportedly launch an online music download service for BlackBerries in order to compete with competitors Apple and Nokia. The application will be a result of a partnership with a UK-based music website, 7Digital and, according to 7Digital's marketing manager Peter Davis, will be free to download. In a unique approach, the quality will change depending on the network: BlackBerry users on a 3G network will download lower bitrate AAC tracks to save time, but can immediately move to 320Kbps MP3 downloads when on Wi-Fi. A sync feature will also connect the phone to a computer over Wi-Fi to transfer without requiring a USB link.

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Nokia Comes With Music to go MP3 by 2010?

06/18, 10:20am

Nokia CWM MP3 by 2010

A rumor early on Thursday suggests that Nokia could remove copy protection from all its music services within the next year. Claimed sources for ME say the smartphone maker will switch its pay-per-download store from locking songs with Windows Media protection to unguarded MP3s by late this year. Tellingly, Comes With Music would also reportedly make the switch and would do so sometime in 2010, giving users a year of unlimited downloads they could move to any device, including iPhones and iPods.

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Nokia 5800 Comes With Music reaches UK

05/13, 5:10pm

Nokia 5800 CWM in UK

Nokia today launched a Comes with Music edition of the 5800 XpressMusic in Britain. The addition is exclusive to Orange UK and comes in a unique black-and-silver trim. Improving on the special-run 5800 available elsewhere, the touchscreen phone now gets a two-year subscription to Nokia's unlimited, copy-protected music service. It continues to let buyers keep their downloaded tracks whenever the subscription ends.

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Nokia pins poor Comes With Music uptake on devices

04/29, 2:20pm

Nokia on CWM Reaction

Nokia today defended the poor reception to its Comes With Music service in the UK by claiming that the launch failed primarily due to a weak device lineup. Music VP Rob Taylor argues that Nokia is "happy" with its performance in the country but has promptly said that the two phones available with the unlimited music service, the 5310 XpressMusic and N95 8GB, were too old and not enough to draw subscribers. Of the two, the N95 8GB is the most advanced but was roughly a year old at the time of the Comes With Music launch.

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Nokia's Comes With Music a "big disappointment"

04/22, 1:15pm

Nokia CWM Disappointment

Nokia's Comes With Music unlimited download service has performed well short of expectations, analysis by UK research group Music Ally says. The firm estimates that only 23,000 people have bought the special phones equipped with 1 year of music service and says the number is exceptionally low given the amount of advertising. The UK was the first country to adopt the service and is considered a potential sign of Comes With Music's performance elsewhere.

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Nokia ships 19% fewer phones, loses share in Q1

04/16, 8:25am

Nokia Q1 2009 Results

Nokia this morning reported major falls in both its financial performance and its phone market share for the quarter. The Finnish cellphone maker's operating profit has dropped from slightly over $2 billion in early 2008 to just $72.4 million in early 2009 based on a significant decrease in sales income, which dropped by 27 percent year-over-year. Much of this is attributed directly to a 19.3 percent plunge in cellphone shipments from 115.5 million phones in the first quarter of 2008 to 93.2 million for the same period this year.

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New Nokia music phone to launch on Wednesday?

03/09, 4:30pm

Nokia event on Wednesday

Nokia is teasing the public with an advertisement for an event this Wednesday, March 11th, that would possibly see the release of a music phone, with many thinking it could be yet another handset compatible with the company's Comes With Music service. If so, this would be the third such phone, adding to the current 5800 XpressMusic and 5630 XpressMusic, the latter launched less than a month ago. The event will likely consist of a product announcement, followed by two question and answer sessions, happening in the morning and evening online at Nokia Events. No other details are known, including whether this is indeed a new product announcement or a change to the service itself. Many are hoping it will be a long-awaited announcement that the service is finally coming to North America.

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Nokia Comes With Music to go DRM-free

03/02, 1:30pm

Nokia music going DRM-free

Music sold through Nokia's Comes With Music service will eventually go DRM-free, according to one of the company's executives. Adam Mirabella, the director of Nokia's Global Digital Music Retail division, says that the company is currently in negotiations with various groups, and has fixed removing DRM as a long-term goal. No specific record labels have been named, nor has a firm date been set for when the transition will occur.

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Nokia brings Comes With Music, 5800 XM to Australia

02/25, 4:30pm

Nokia music in Australia

Nokia on Wednesday announced it will launch its Comes With Music service, along with the compatible Nokia 5800 XpressMusic handset, in Australia on March 20th. The handset, Nokia's first touchscreen device, will have access to a library that has more than 4 million tracks. As in other countries, the service will give users the option to download an unlimited amount music to their PC or the 5800 handset for one year and keep what they download, unlike other time-limited or pay-per track services.

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Nokia outs new Comes With Music phones

02/13, 7:40am

Nokia CWM New Phones

Nokia on Friday used one of the last days before Mobile World Congress to add multiple new phones to the Comes With Music roster. In addition to existing phones that come with the year-long unlimited music subscription, such as the N96, an introduction of the service into Singapore is also bringing both high- and low-end phones into the mix with the N79, N85, 5800 XpressMusic, 5320 XpressMusic and 5220 XpressMusic all getting the same option. The addition has the same rights as in other countries and lets owners keep any music they've downloaded once the subscription is over.

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Nokia outs 5630 XpressMusic with voice-command music

02/10, 9:00am

Nokia 5630 XpressMusic

Preparing itself in the run-up to next week's Mobile World Congress, Nokia today launched the 5630 XpressMusic. The new mid-range phone in the company's media-focused lineup centers around a rare voice recognition system that will play artists, songs and other music content just through speaking its name. Its visual interface also borrows from the N97's social component by including a new Contacts Bar on the home screen that provides quick access to the recent calls, messages and photos from as many as 20 favorites.

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Nokia confirms new Comes with Music markets

01/21, 4:05pm

Comes with Music expansion

Nokia on Wednesday officially confirmed an earlier report that it would expand its Comes with Music service to multiple European countries. The world's largest cellphone maker has signed pan-European licenses with various national collecting societies that will allow it to soon offer the music service in Spain, France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, and Norway.

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Nokia set to expand Comes with Music service

01/19, 4:45pm

Nokia music to expand

Nokia is planning on introducing its Comes with Music service into Singapore and Australia by March, according to a weekend report. Currently only available in the UK, Nokia is also working on introducing the unlimited music subscription service both in the previously mentioned near-term launches as well as to the US and Latin America sometime later in 2009.

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Zune Pass adds 10 permanent monthly tracks

11/20, 7:55am

Zune Pass Keeps Ten Tracks

Microsoft on Thursday gave its Zune Pass feature an upgrade by letting owners keep ten of the songs they download each month as part of the unlimited subscription service. The plan includes music from all four major labels as well as independents such as Arts & Crafts or Ghostly International and doesn't require any alterations to the $15 monthly subscription rate or to the choice of format for music, which can include either unprotected MP3s or the proprietary, locked Zune format.

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Nokia sets Comes With Music price, signs EMI

10/02, 2:10pm

Nokia CWM Phone Launch

As a companion to news of the 5800 XpressMusic touchscreen phone, Nokia today also kicked off the formal launch details of its Comes With Music service. The company now plans to ship the inaugural, modified 5310 XpressMusic on October 16th and will sell it exclusively through Carphone Warehouse for 130 pounds ($230). As promised, the handset will come with one year of unlimited access to music and will let owners keep any downloaded tracks if they choose not to renew the subscription. Pricing for a renewal still isn't available.

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Claim: Nokia's first touch phone due Oct. 2

09/26, 7:35am

Nokia 5800 Due Oct 2

Nokia's defining 5800 XpressMusic is due at a previously rumored October 2nd special event, claim sources for Reuters. The news outlet points to the media gathering, most likely also to include Nokia's already discussed Comes With Music plans, as the starting point for the company's first ever touchscreen phone. The device has been nicknamed the "Tube" and is widely known to be pitched as a non-smartphone but high-spec alternative to handsets like the iPhone, with a sharper 640x360 display and 3.2-megapixel camera countered by the lack of large built-in storage and reduced support for third-party apps.

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Nokia's iPhone rival shows in press shot

09/24, 10:20am

Nokia 5800 Press Shot Leak

Nokia's first true touchscreen phone has been spotted today in a leak of an official press image for the device. The image matches earlier but much less distinct images and shows a significantly different interface for the Symbian operating system's music player with onscreen music controls and larger album art. Other interface changes are known to be coming and include an iPhone-like photo browser with swipe and rotate features as well as as a new control panel.

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Sony Ericsson bows PlayNow unlimited music

09/24, 9:15am

Sony Ericsson PlayNow plus

Sony Ericsson this morning launched into more aggressive competition in mobile music with the advent of PlayNow plus. The feature is one of the few carrier-independent unlimited music services that works entirely from the device itself but is also tailored to overcome resistance to subscription services: in an improvement on Nokia's Comes With Music service, Sony Ericsson says it will not only let users keep their most frequently-played music at the end of their subscriptions but that permanent copies will come in MP3 format; listeners can offload the music to another phone, a PC, or a dedicated media player without copy restrictions.

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Nokia Comes With Music phone sales to start Oct 17

09/19, 3:50pm

Nokia music phone date set

Nokia‘s recently introduced bundled Comes with Music service and phone for the UK market will become reality on October 17 when the first handset with the service will become available for purchase on retailer site Carphone Warehouse, says a Thursday report. The retailer will be the exclusive seller of the first Nokia handset, the 5310, pictured. The one-year subscription to the music service will add a one-time fee of about $120 to the price of the handset.

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Sony partnering with Omnifone for music service?

09/18, 5:15pm

Sony and Omnifone music

Recording industry insiders are reporting that Sony Ericsson is due to launch a music service soon similar to Nokia's Comes With Music. According to CNET, the service is a partnership with Omnifone, which will allegedly provide a limitless supply of music downloads from the industry's four big labels. Sony Ericsson and Omnifone both could not be reached for comment on the matter.

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Universal turns profit from music downloads

09/17, 3:45pm

Universal Music Profit

Universal Music may have finally reached the point at which purely digital music has become profitable, Vivendi Universal chief Jean Bernard Lévy has told the Financial Times. Despite most major labels having seen rapid declines in CD sales that have yet to be compensated by online purchases, Universal now has a "surprise" for investors of a five percent boost in its first-half 2008 revenue to $3.1 billion where it would previously have posted a loss. The change is a sign that the company is nearing the point at which CDs can hurt its bottom line, according to Lévy.

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Nokia Comes With Music may demand $150 premium

09/11, 3:55pm

Nokia music service costs

A recent report hazards some educated guesses at the price of Nokia’s recently announced Comes with Music audio track download service. While a direct conversion has the 5310 and N95 8GB phones bundled with the Comes with Music service cost $120 and $150 more than the handsets themselves, the actual price difference in North America is likely to be closer to $100, as Nokia devices traditionally sell for less stateside. The numbers come from UK smartphone retailer Expansys, which has published pre-order pricing for the Nokia handsets.

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Sony Ericsson to use Nokia unlimited music strategy?

09/09, 12:30pm

Sony Ericsson UL Music

Sony Ericsson may follow in the steps of Nokia's Comes With Music and run its own unlimited music service, the Financial Times claims. Without referring to sources, the newspaper asserts that Sony Ericsson is negotiating with multiple major labels to offer music downloads for its own phones. It's unknown whether the cellphone designer would follow a similar pattern of tying a subscription to the price of certain phones or if it would be strictly optional for phone owners.

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Nokia iPhone rival due Oct 8 with Comes With Music?

09/08, 11:10am

Nokia Tube Oct 8 Rumor

Nokia's first touchscreen phone, the 5800 XpressMusic, could be due in exactly one month, according to a purported leak from a source to JAMP. The apparently UK-based insider claims that the mid-range device will ship to the island country on October 8th and may be joined by additional launches in other countries as well; the source doesn't name any carrier exclusives.

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Nokia debuting Comes With Music in UK this year

09/02, 7:35am

Comes With Music UK

Nokia this morning provided some of the earliest launch details for its long-delayed Comes With Music service, its cooperative attempt at changing the business model for mobile music. The feature will first launch as an exclusive for UK cellphone retailer Carphone Warehouse and will first be available only through a Comes With Music edition of Nokia's 5310 XpressMusic; customers will pay extra for the phone itself but receive a year's worth of unlimited Windows Media-formatted music downloads that they can keep even if they choose not to renew.

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Universal opens DRM-free rare music store

07/30, 3:55pm

Universal LostTunes

Universal today took an unusual route in announcing LostTunes, its own company-run store. Rather than sell a bulk catalog, the service focuses only on rare and at times unreleased albums from the music label's collection. Albums are hand-picked by Universal and cover several different eras ranging from classic jazz on the Verve label to Joni Mitchell and electronic music. The catalog will start small with just 134 albums but will add 500 albums within the next half-year; the goal is to offer a new way to buy into a back catalog, Universal says.

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Nokia lands Warner for Comes With Music

06/30, 10:45pm

Warner on Comes With Music

Nokia tonight signed on Warner Music Group to its Comes With Music unlimited subscription service, joining founding partner Universal and recent entrant Sony BMG in offering its back catalog. The deal lets users buy phones with a Comes With Music premium attached and download an unlimited amount of Warner's music (or of any other label) for a year; all tracks downloaded during that time are the user's to keep, addressing a common complaint regarding most subscription plans.

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RIAA: DRM likely revived by subscriptions

05/08, 4:50pm

RIAA on DRM Revival

Regardless of the movement towards permanent unprotected downloads in online music, digital rights management (DRM) is likely to persist and may also thrive in the near future, the Recording Industry Association of America said today at a Los Angeles media conference. The music organization's technology head David Hughes observes that nearly all strategies for offering paid music still require some form of copy protection to enforce the license agreements, which are often dependent on set times or play counts.

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Nokia refutes claims of one-sided music deal

04/30, 10:40am

Nokia Refutes CWM Bias

Nokia today rebuffed claims that its Comes With Music service will damage the company financially. The Finnish cellphone maker denies that the deal will force it to accept losses on music downloads and says instead that the service was created from the outset for profit rather than the unfair deal biased in favor of music labels, as suggested by earlier reports.

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Sony BMG, new phones join Nokia music efforts

04/22, 7:25am

Sony Joins CWM + 2 Nokia

Sony BMG today said it would join Nokia's Comes With Music unlimited music service, adding support beyond the initial Universal Music Group catalog. The announcement confirms recent rumors of talks and will let anyone purchasing a Comes With Music-based phone download unlimited music over the course of a year-long subscription. At the end of the term, phone owners can keep any downloaded tracks and either pay for a Nokia Music Store subscription or buy music a la carte.

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Sony mulls iPod-ready subscription music

03/25, 9:15am

Sony BMG Subs Music

Sony BMG is considering a subscription-based music service that would work with all devices, according to remarks by label chief Rolf Schmidt-Holtz to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. While the company is exploring other ideas, the executive notes that the firm is considering an option that would allow unlimited downloads for most any portable music player, including iPods. Such a plan would cost between 6 and 8 Euros ($9 to $12) per month but would also allow users to keep between 40 and 50 of the tracks they download each year, eliminating common complaints about music disappearing once a subscription ends.

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eMusic CEO: unlimited iTunes is anti-trust material

03/20, 5:45pm

Pakman blasts iTunes idea

Despite a lack of official word from Apple in terms of a "Comes with Music"-style unlimited iTunes download plan, the concept is drawing heavy criticism, especially from eMusic CEO David Pakman. Many in the industry are trying to predict Apple's moves before any official announcement [1|2], and Pakman claims that a potential unlimited plan would rank Apple alongside Microsoft in terms of monopolistic behavior, due to the company's market dominance with the venerable iPod, according to Wired.

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EMI hopes to join Nokia unlimited music deal

03/19, 3:35pm

EMI Talks for Nokia CWM

EMI is eager to join Nokia's controversial Comes With Music service, the music label said today in a press conference. The company has revealed that discussions are underway which would add EMI's catalog to the current offerings, which are limited to tracks from Universal. Without detailing the progress of talks, EMI's Finland head Wemppa Koivumaki said he hoped his firm's music would be in place for the official Comes With Music launch in the latter half of 2008.

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Apple discussing alternative iTunes models?

03/18, 11:35pm

Alternative iTunes models

Apple is reportedly discussing a new iTunes store business model with record companies which would grant iPod owners unlimited access to the library by paying a slight premium for the devices. According to The Financial Times, the plan resembles the Nokia "Comes with Music" deal, wherein Nokia pays record companies almost $80 per handset; Apple is reportedly limiting its offer to $20 per device.

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Sony-Ericsson nabs major music label support

01/28, 9:40am

Sony-Ericsson PlayNow

Sony-Ericsson this morning revealed an aggressive step into online music with expanded plans for its upcoming PlayNow arena music service. The cellphone producer says it has now struck deals to offer downloadable full tracks from major labels EMI, Warner Music, and its sibling Sony BMG as well as larger independents such as The Orchard and X5. This will add up to more than five million songs available for owners of Sony-Ericsson handsets, the company says. No details have been given as to whether the catalog will extend to the ordinary PlayNow service already available today, which sells some full music as well as ringtones.

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Nokia looks to gain marketshare, stock drops

12/04, 8:50pm

Nokia financial broadcast

Nokia today hosted its annual investor day, and announced that it is raising its operating margin forecasts, while seeking to gain market share in mobile devices. Shares dropped 3.3-percent on the NYSE, as investors deemed Nokia's 16- to 17-percent group operating margin too conservative, leaving the company to finish at $38.92 per share. CEO Olli Pekka Kallasvuo continue on to the mobile division, pointing out the potential operating margin at 20-percent within two years, and 10-percent for its Nokia Siemens Networks joint venture by the end of 2009.

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