Skip to main content
May 6, 2008

Is Comes with Music a losing proposition for Nokia?

Yeah, that title sure has a grab. And controversy sells. So when there is an inkling of an alternate story that has more bite, journalists seem to usually go for the bite. But the alternate story can be just plain wrong, no matter how logical or compelling that story is.

Andrew Orlowski, from The Register, loves controversy and is good at finding weak spots in the companies he writes about. In our case, he recently wrote two articles (and an earlier one) on Nokia Comes with Music, a program that enables people to buy a Nokia device with a year of access to millions of tracks from the Nokia Music catalog. In the articles he cites sources who not only claim to know what Comes with Music costs Nokia per handset, but also claim to know why certain execs have left the Nokia Music management team.

These conjectures didn’t seem to make sense from all that we have heard and know. So we checked with the people involved and tapped into some of our usual sources of juicy gossip.

From what we learned, it’s pretty clear nobody was fired due to any negotiation around Comes with Music. Sure, there was a management restructure recently, which is normal at Nokia, and has been particularly common in the past few months due to an overall company re-organization. Also, as different groups hit different stages of their development and deployment, it’s normal to change the leaders.

And, while we’ll never say publicly what the deal structure with the music labels was for Come with Music (and why should we?), we can definitely say that it does not resemble what was speculated in the article.

It’s understandable that in the absence of real information, such logically solid speculation can happen. It’s also understandable that it could be quite wrong in the end.

In any case, thanks, Andrew, for bringing this up. We welcome these speculations, as they keep us on our toes and force us to be more open and honest (as much as is practical, at least). And keep after us when things just don’t make sense.

Moving forward, we are looking forward to the first Comes with Music devices and to see if, regardless of who paid what, this usage model matters to the people who end up buying the devices. I think there are a lot of folks watching and hoping for a success. All the speculation in the world won’t matter if, in the end, no one is buying the devices. Right?

Image from tallmariah