Nokia’s Comes With Music subscription service allows you to download as much music as you like for one year.
Unlike other music subscription services such as Napster, however, you can continue to listen to your music after your subscription has ended.
Comes With Music is available with only two Nokia mobile phones – the Comes With Music Edition versions of the 5310 and the N95 8GB. We tried it with the 5310, which is available without a SIM for £157 including VAT. It’s also available on Orange pay as you go for £127 or free on an 18 month contract with Orange for £25 a month from www.carphonewarehouse.com.
After registering your PC and phone with Nokia, you can download music through the Nokia Music player program. You can register only one PC, which you must then use for all your downloads, although you can switch your account to a different PC up to four times during the year. You can also download songs directly to the phone.
It’s easy to search for songs by keyword or browse by artist, album or genre. A wide selection of tracks is available, and while it isn’t as broad as iTunes, we found all our favourite music apart from some obscure blues, drum and bass and soundtrack songs. Unlike Apple’s iTunes Store, audiobooks, podcasts and music videos aren’t available, however. You can browse the catalogue at www.music.nokia.co.uk.
Copying songs over USB from PC to phone is straightforward. You can transfer tracks manually or have them sync automatically every time you connect your phone. Music is protected by Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM), which limits how you can listen to it – you can use it on one computer and one phone. You can burn songs to CD for a fee, and you’ll need a Windows DRM-compatible media receiver if you want to stream them over a network.
Nokia Music will be familiar to anyone who’s ever used an MP3 playback program. You can rip music from your CDs as MP3, AAC or WMA files and transfer those to your phone. You can also import your existing music collection and playlists from iTunes and Windows Media Player. Unlike those programs, however, there’s no support for smart playlists, which automatically update themselves if you get new music by a selected artist, for example.
If you like to download music all the time and are content with Nokia’s DRM restrictions, Comes With Music is great value. For £157 you could buy 224 songs at 70p each from Amazon’s MP3 store, although you could play them on any computer or music player. If you’re going to download that much music in a year, opting for Comes With Music means you get a slick new handset, worth around £80 including VAT, practically for free.