Nokia’s ‘Comes With Music’ Too Good To Be True

DRMed into oblivion.

It all seemed just a little bit too perfect didn’t it…

The ambitious Comes With Music (CWM) plan announced by Nokia last week proposed a acoustic nirvana: buy a new handset and receive unlimited free music for the lifetime of the device. At the time, the press release was worryingly short of details and now as the euphoria fades we know why: it begins with ‘D’, ends with ‘M’ and there’s an ‘R’ in the middle…

Yep, Digital Rights Management or ‘DRM’ infests the service. Track comes in that oh-so-devious WMA format and all are registered to just one CWM device and a single computer associated with your CWM account. Tracks cannot be burnt to a CD without paying for an undisclosed price for an ‘upgrade’ and it seems that should you change to a non-CWM device (ie, dare to leave Nokia) you’re music collection will scarper too with no means to save it.

The final kick in the stones: tracks are encoded at a maximum of just 192Kbps (so 2005) while ‘older tracks’ (another undefined term) will topple all the way back to 128Kbps.

So is there any upside to today’s discoveries? Well, record labels are known to be considering the idea of abandoning DRM altogether but Nokia isn’t a record label…. Oh, and I’ve got one more: Nokia has confirmed Comes With Music is nothing to do with Universal’s uncannily similar Total Music proposal which means ”that” may not deploy with such a restrictive business model.

And all just when I thought my legendary dislike of the Finnish company was slowly subsiding

Nokia UK

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