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GLOBAL – In the past month, Nokia has launched four new devices in the XpressMusic range. Add to that the rolling thunder that is the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and you have the makings of a strong range of music devices in various price points and shapes and sizes. Something to suit everyone.

Is this for real? Is this just a flash in the pan or is Nokia really jamming to the music?

In this article, we review Nokia’s history in music (check out the milestones) and make some points about XpressMusic and Comes With Music. We hope to show that Nokia is sitting in the sweet-spot of devices, services, and customer desires, suggesting a tipping-point for the whole music industry.

Same old tune
Nokia has been fusing music and mobiles for a very long time. Back in 1994, Nokia introduced the ‘Grand Valse’ monophonic ringtone in the Nokia 2110. In 1997, Nokia launched the Nokia 8110i, the first Nokia phone to support downloadable ringtones. And we know how crazy folks got over ringtones, which basically dominated (and still do?) mobile downloads. Clearly people wanted their phones to carry music that reflected their personality.

Over the following years, Nokia made its phones more musical, building up to the the Nokia 5510, Nokia’s first dedicated music device (2001), and the Nokia N91, Nokia’s flagship music products (2005).

While not all are dedicated music products, by the end of 2008 Nokia had sold 425 million phones with a digital music player and 700 million with an FM radio. For sure, Nokia is not a dilettante in this space.

As further indication of its commitment to mobile music, Nokia set up the XpressMusic range in 2005. The first XpressMusic phone was the Nokia 3250, which sold 1 million units in its first 4 months. Now we count nine (just four in the past month) XpressMusic devices out there. The latest are also more than just music devices, but bring new formats, such as the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic (large touch screen) and the Nokia 5730 (with QWERTY keyboard), or lead the charge for Nokia’s eco-savvy efforts, such as the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic.

Comes With Music
A radio is empty without the programming, so too a music device empty without the music. In 2007 Nokia brought forth its first Nokia Store in the UK. Over the past 18 months, Nokia has rolled out 14 more stores across 4 continents, with a catalogue of over 6 million tracks.

But, the real deal is Comes With Music. Wickedly simple, Comes With Music offers, with selected phones, all-you-can-gorge music, as fast as your fingers can download, and yours to keep after the 12 to 18 month subscription ends. With major labels behind it, Comes With Music is not a small experiment, but something that might change the way music is purchased and appreciated.

The future is promising
XpressMusic is the convergence of mobile phones (the ones folks talk on all day) and music (what folks listen to when not talking on their phones), a true fusion that fits people’s mobile lifestyles. And, no longer are these just music devices, but they are devices that lead in how we make and distribute phones sustainably or bring cutting-edge features to a wider range of people, beyond the niches where frontline features such as QWERTY keyboards and touch interfaces usually languish.

Combine all these devices with a music store, and, more particularly, Comes With Music, and you have the makings of a great musical future that a large number of eager people can participate in.

One more thing
While not an XpressMusic device, per se, the Nokia 5030 is a harbinger of things to come. The XpressMusic range brought mobile music to mostly mature markets, where many people had expectations of what a mobile music experience was supposed to be like, expecting it to replace their mobile music player with one in their phone.

Yet, there are huge swathes of folks in the less mature and more emergent markets who are also building expectations of what their phones should do – things beyond just voice and text. User research by Nokia revealed that migrant communities in India are using mobile devices to retain their identity, using the devices to listen to their regional songs and watch their regional movies.

The Nokia 5030, in our view, brings a converged mobile and music package to a whole new crop of music appreciators. Sure, it’s just a radio, but it’s a start. And once people get hooked, they’ll want to move up to the XpressMusic range, and enjoy the full mobile music world.

Your turn
Of course, we have tried to look at things objectively, but this might have been clouded by our proximity to the company. If any of you have a point to make related to what was written here, or would like to elaborate on this topic, please feel free to write something below or on your own site and let us know what you think.

Nokia Music Milestones


  • Nokia 2110 introduces the iconic ‘Grand Valse’ monophonic ringtone


  • Nokia 8110i is the first Nokia phone to support downloadable ringtones


  • Nokia 7650 features polyphonic ring tones
  • Nokia launches its first dedicated digital music device –the Nokia 5510
  • Nokia 8310 brings FM radio to the Nokia product range


  • The Nokia 7210 is the first Nokia phone with stereo output


  • Nokia 3300 is the first Nokia device with a dedicated music key and given the music industry seal of approval. Hip hop artist Jay-Z collaborated with Nokia to create a music and wireless industry first; a special black edition Nokia 3300 pre-loaded with Jay-Z’s Black Album on a memory card


  • Nokia 7710 introduces Visual Radio to complement a listening experience with visual content and brings interactivity to the mobile device


  • Nokia introduces the premium Nokia 8800. In addition to a stainless steel finish, the device features a musical soundtrack of alerts and ring tones by award-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto Nokia’s flagship music product, the Nokia N91, breaks new ground when it comes to mobile music. It’s the world’s first mobile device to feature a 4GB hard disk which can store up to 3000 tracks
  • Nokia XpressMusic feature brand is introduced to make it easy for consumers to identify the company’s growing portfolio of music-optimized mobile devices
  • Nokia introduces the Nokia 3250 XpressMusic, the first in the XpressMusic range


  • Nokia 3250 goes triple-platinum as it enthralls 1 million consumers in less than 4 months
  • Nokia Nseries range shines the spotlight on music – special black editions of Nokia N70, Nokia N73 and Nokia N91 8GB offer the ultimate in mobile music experiences
  • Nokia offers the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic and the Nokia 5200 for youthful consumers. An attractive price point makes them a great starting point for first-time portable digital music users
  • Nokia Music Recommenders brings together great new music across continents and genres, with personal recommendations from the world’s most respected independent music stores, with David Bowie as the ultimate musical godfather Nokia Podcasting Application makes it easy to discover and download podcasting content on the go