Death Of Nokia's 'Comes With Music' Shows That 'Free' With DRM Is A Losing Proposition

from the dead-and-buried dept

This is from a little while ago, but I'm just catching up on some older stories. Reader Rabbit80 points us to the news that Nokia has finally put its "Comes with Music" program out of its misery and shut it down. Comes with Music was actually an interesting idea: you buy a phone and for 12 months you get free music downloads. At a conceptual level, this sounds great: you're using the abundant (free music!) to make the scarce (mobile phone!) more valuable. But, like everything, a good idea can be marred by the execution. And, in this case, the execution involved the major record labels demanding that "Comes with Music" really mean "Comes with DRM'd Music." A year and a half ago we pointed out that Comes With Music was really getting very little uptake, and the decision to kill it off just confirms how weak the pickup was.

Nokia says that it was the DRM that was the real killer:
"The markets clearly want a DRM-free music service."
And, of course, there was nothing stopping the labels from allowing a DRM-free service, but they still have this infatuation with DRM, even though they finally came around to ditching the DRM on MP3 sales.

That said, this little real world experiment once again seems to highlight how the claim that "people just want stuff for free" is a myth. Here was a case where people could get the music they wanted for free... but it came limited and so they weren't interested. It's rarely about people just wanting stuff for free. It's often about the restrictions or the convenience of things. The price is nice, but it's rarely the key factor, despite what some industry folks would like to claim.

Filed Under: drm, free, music
Companies: nokia


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  1. identicon
    Rabbit80, 16 Feb 2011 @ 10:03am

    The problems with the Nokia music downloads are the exact same problems as the other music services are having.

    I was using Spotify the other day and I was tempted to pay for their subscription service. The reason I backed down? Because I can't listen to it in the car.

    There are numerous ways in which I can get to listen to music legally - and for free, but all of them seem to involve having an internet connection (and I use these services frequently!) Give me a convenient and cheap alternative to having to be online and I will most likely jump at the opportunity. And having DRM'd music that expires on my phone doesn't count!

    The entertainment industries need to start working together and find ways to attract consumers. If there was a service where I could legally download as many films and as much music as I liked for a reasonable fee (say 25 per month) I would jump at the opportunity. At the moment they are lucky to get that amount in a year from me.

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