Nokia World: Nokia announces unlimited music downloads

Consumers buying Nokia mobile phones are being promised a year of "unlimited" music downloads, following a deal between the handset maker and Universal Music Group.

Next year, Nokia will start to sell handsets under the "Comes with Music" brand. The cost of these phones will include a year's subscription to Nokia's music service, offering unlimited downloads - both to a mobile phone and a computer.

"It is not a streaming service: all the songs and albums are there for you to keep," said Anssi Vanjoki, general manager of Nokia's multimedia division. Users of the service will still be able to play downloaded tracks, even if they do not take out a further year's subscription.

Vanjoki said that Nokia is currently in talks with other record labels to expand the service, which is initially restricted to tracks from Universal. He did not, however, say which phones would support the service or how much it would cost to renew subscriptions.

According to Vanjoki, Comes with Music will be developed alongside other parts of Nokia's Ovi content and internet service, currently in Beta. Nokia wants to turn Ovi into a service for music, video, photos, social networking and location or context-aware information.

Nokia developers are creating a single service, based on a dashboard with a single password, or "single sign on", to allow consumers to access their content from their mobile device, the Internet or a home PC. The PC software will allow users to manage their content offline, and Vanjoki promised Macintosh compatibility as part of next year's development work.

Other enhancements to Ovi include access to over 1,000 internet radio stations from a mobile phone. According to Vanjoki, 31 per cent of data traffic to Nokia's multi-media phones is already via a Wi-Fi connection.