Nokia + music industry = ‘Comes with hassle’

Nokia’s launch of its all-you-can-eat music subscription service, Comes With Music, appears to have slammed into some unexpected hurdles – the company appears to have not yet finalised its music publishing deal – a deal it needs to offer the service legally.

Music Week reports that, while the UK will be the first territory to see the service debut on the Nokia 531D XpressMusic handset, Nokia neglected to conclude talks with music publishers before announcing the deal.

Perhaps a bigger problem is that market chatter indicates Nokia to be already paying handsomely for the right to distribute free music from such a grand catalogue – and it may be the company hasn’t included the fees from publishers, as these haven’t been agreed yet.

Citing a music publishing source, MusicWeek notes, “There’s been a lot of talk about getting the major labels on board for Comes With Music, but as ever publishing seems to have been an afterthought.”

The concern here may be if budgeting for Nokia’s service has included payments to publishers, or if confusion at the way stakeholders get paid in music meant Nokia execs had a blind spot here – will the service still be cost effective?

While that last notion could be pure alarmism, Nokia competitor, Sony Ericsson, is going to be watching with interest, following a report in the FInancial Times this morning which claims, “Sony Ericsson is set to unveil an unlimited music downloading service for its mobile phones later this month in an attempt to stem its declining market share.”

We’ll see how this plays out…

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