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. icon
    chris (profile), 16 Feb 2011 @ 2:28pm


    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.

    rather than a service, i would prefer a license to do what i am already doing.

    i call it "the piracy pass", a voluntary license that is the intellectual property equivalent of diplomatic immunity. i do what i have always done, only i get to do it in the open using public trackers and no encryption. when the DMCA notices come in, my license serves as authorization to keep on doing i'm doing.

    the mechanism to track is already in place (media sentry, etc.) the mechanism to collect and distribute royalties is already in place (ASCAP and their movie and television equivalents).

    there is no search and download service that can compete with bit torrent and torrent trackers, so why bother trying to come up with one?

    other than setting up the license, nothing has to change. i keep pirating, just like always. they keep snooping, just like always. the royalties groups and the labels/studios keep screwing the artists, just like always. the only thing that changes is i get left alone and the content industry gets an increase in revenue.

    also, if people don't want to pay, they can keep doing what they are doing right now.

    honestly, it's really the only way that i can see the incumbent media industry surviving. not that i care that they do, if they die off, someone else with sensible pricing will fill the void.

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