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Nokia Comes With... 32,000 UK users

Unlimited download service limps along, ignored

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Nokia had fewer than 33,000 active users of its Comes With Music service in the UK nine months after its launch, according to leaked figures. Worldwide, Nokia had just over 107,000 users in nine world markets. The numbers were passed to consultancy MusicAlly, and were published on their blog.

CWM bundles a year's unlimited downloads with the phone, and users can keep the music after the year - or transfer the offer to a new Nokia phone. That's a great deal, but conveying it to a disbelieving market is hard, as the company admits (euphemistically) in a response to the story.

"In terms of innovation, Comes With Music is a significant shift for both consumers and the industry alike," it said.

Adoption seems to be higher in emerging markets than in the UK. Brazil saw 10,809 signups in three months. CWM has now launched in 11 markets.

Nokia's head of music Liz Schimel told us last month that the company was overhauling the complex retail process. Yet difficulties remain - a new account can't be activated in the store, since the DRM ties it to the user's home PC. Until now, the range of handsets has been severely limited. That will improve a little with the launch of more attractive dedicated music phones before Christmas.

So far CWM is an expensive failure of quite epic proportions - is it the concept itself or merely the execution that's responsible for the poor take up? Either way, Nokia says it's sticking with the access model.

"Consumers vote with their feet - give them a fantastic catalogue, ease of use and great devices - but it doesn't happen overnight," Schimel insists. ®

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