Nokia Could Loosen Apple’s Grip On Digital Music

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For years, Microsoft and others have attempted without much success to shake Apple’s tight grip on the digital music scene. From subscription services to the Zune, companies have searched for the winning alternative to the iTunes, iPod bundle. Analysts now believe Finland’s Nokia may have a good shot of chipping away at Apple’s dominance.

More than 80 percent of people would pay for Nokia’s ‘Comes with Music’ service – particularly when it feels like they are getting tunes for free. Nokia says it will launch the handsets Oct. 17 in Britain.

Strategy Analytics said cost and selection trump brand – even ones so tightly woven as Apple, iPod and iTunes.

“Nokia Comes With Music effectively bundles a year’s subscription of music downloads (PC and mobile) into the price of a handset,” analyst Pitesh Patel told Cult of Mac.

Patel said Nokia – the largest handset maker – could overwhelm Apple’s iPhone.

“Nokia’s strong distribution and handset marketshare means that it currently sells more music playing devices than Apple,” the Strategy Analytics wireless analyst said.

However, we are not likely to see a head-to-head battle between the two companies in the United States. Nokia instead will challenge the iPhone in Europe and Asia – areas where Apple’s name awareness gives way to the handset maker.

The key point in this dust-up is that digital music fans care little about the name on their music player.

“It turns out that brand is irrelevant,” said Patel.

16 responses to “Nokia Could Loosen Apple’s Grip On Digital Music”

  1. synthmeister says:

    Problem is, you can’t play these tunes on an iPod, they only work on one computer and they explode when you get a new phone or new computer.

  2. rattyuk says:

    ““It turns out that brand is irrelevant,” said Patel.”

    Prediction.

    Wake me up when it happens…

    “More than 80 percent of people would pay for Nokia’s ‘Comes with Music’ service – particularly when it feels like they are getting tunes for free. Nokia says it will launch the handsets Oct. 17 in Britain.”

    80% of everyone in Britain? What was the sample size. Who paid for the survey?

  3. Chet Sandberg says:

    *News Flash* We STILL don’t want to ‘rent’ our music! /*News Flash*

  4. spinnerlys says:

    It’s areas not area’s.

  5. Ed Sutherland says:

    rattyuk: Good questions; I’ll report back when SA provides the answers.

    spinnerlys: good eye.

  6. CeilingCat says:

    I was part of this survey; it was very focused, rather small, and offered little opportunity to dismiss the option of using their service. The main reason it’s pulled such a large percentage of positive responses isn’t because it’s Nokia, or because it’s bundled (although that’s bound to help – you HAD to be interested in buying a phone in the next 3 months in order to qualify, so that’s weighted the results right there); no, the main selling point is that it’s the one thing Apple doesn’t and currently cannot offer – it’s a subscription-based system.

  7. Martin Hill says:

    I’m afraid these survey results are severely misleading and Patel is spouting nonsense.

    The fact is that purchasing DRM-laden music is one of the lowest bullet points on the list of items people look at when purchasing a new phone.

    Price does not trump the music player. Why else did Walmart with cheaper music than Apple not obliterate iTunes (or Amazon who has some music cheaper than iTunes)? The music player hardware is absolutely important in people’s eyes, because it does far more than just play music.

    Those who do want “free” music will most likely just get it from P2P sites not Nokia. There’s no such thing as a free lunch in this case with Nokia – you end up having to pay more for the handset to get this “free” subscription. The Music cartels aren’t giving this away for nothing.

    -Mart

  8. Ed Sutherland says:

    On the question of the survey’s composition, Patel told me this morning that the survey sample was 3,500 with 1,000 in the U.S. and 500 each in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Strategy Analytics paid for the survey.