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
    Michael Long (profile), 16 Feb 2011 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "i'm willing to pay for all sorts of stuff like bandwidth, access, equipment, or convenience, but i'm not willing to pay for content."

    You say that like it means something. Basically, you're saying is that you're willing [e.g. forced] to pay for all of the things that you can't easily steal.

    As I responded to the other article, most of the younger kids and college types belong to the “more time than money” crowd. They’re willing to spend hours scrounging around the web trying to find a decent copy of the latest movie. They’re also willing to sit through ads if it means the content is “free”.

    But as you get older, you begin to realize that your time has value, and you become willing to spend money not to waste it. And you generally have the income such that you can afford to do so.

    I, personally, will pay for an iTunes movie rental or a Netflix subscription so that I can find and watch high-quality movies (format not content) quickly and easily.

    I also tend to believe that the people who create the content deserve some form of compensation as well. As such, I pay.

    Despite the fact that in doing so I'm also supporting the occasional parasite and free rider... like yourself.

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