Nokia Ovi Music has been on mobile watchers lips ever since a leak pointed towards Espoo’s plans to unify its wildly diverse music offerings into one, easy-to-access place on its handsets. But since details slipped, the Finnish phone maker has shut up shop, refusing to say just what how it will work and when we’ll be seeing such a service hit its phones, if at all.
Initial rumours have suggested that Ovi Music will essentially be a rebranded version of the Nokia Music Store. This would be stripped of the archaic reliance on Digital Rights Management (DRM) and focused on getting punters tracks in a quick sharp manner from their homescreen. Most likely, this will happen when Nokia ditches Symbian S60 and releases phones packing its new touch friendly Symbian 3 UI. Think of Ovi Music like the one-touch stop that is iTunes on the iPhone.
But the fact is, Nokia Ovi Music raises far more questions than it answers. Does it mean the end of the all-you-can-eat service Comes With Music? What will happen with the X series phones that have been trailed for months? And is their even any truth in the gossip that Ovi Music is on its way?
When we put these questions to Nokia, we were told it would “not be able to provide the information you need.” That points to two things: Ovi Music is round the corner and the Finns don’t fancy prejudicing its planned announcement, perhaps later this summer. And also that discussion around Comes With Music remains off limits.
The latter is down to less than flattering user numbers which were dug out by hacks late last year, showing uptake globally was at a mere 107,000. Around 33,000 of those were in the UK.
Nokia therefore has two options when it comes to Comes With Music: fold it completely, or merge it into a wider Ovi Music offering, with no DRM as part of a subscriptions service. In fact, the latter might work well with mobiles, letting you pay a set fee every month to snaffle as many tracks you want and move them around devices at will.
The major issue here is how the record labels would react to such a plan and whether this would jeopardise Symbian’s partnership with Spotify, which has brought the popular streaming service to a string of top-end Nokia handsets.
Nokia’s refusal to answer our questions definitely suggests it’s working on something. Ovi is becoming bigger, especially with the free to access Ovi Maps garnering stacks of positive headlines. Redeveloping Nokia Music into Ovi Music and sticking it on the homescreen of new X series blowers will surely go some way to rescuing Nokia’s battered reputation in the music arena. No more new schemes: just one unified service with some cool, DRM-free extras thrown in. Come on Nokia, make it happen.