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September 9, 2009

Nokia Music going from strength to strength

Nokia-x6GLOBAL – Music played a big part at Nokia World last week. Not only were both the Nokia X6 and X3 big hits, but news that the latter would be a Comes with Music only device, helped solidify what would previously be considered a service and a product as simply a solution. The kind of solution that gives you as much space as you’d really need to store all the music that you’ve downloaded for free, but legally, through Comes with Music. We spoke to Jo Harlow, who’s involved in the launch of the Nokia X6 and X3 at Nokia. When we told her some of the initial reaction to the devices – one tech website suggested the X6 was the most beautiful Nokia device yet – she was over the moon. Understandably.

As the first Nokia device to have a capacitive display, the X6 brings new features previously unseen on Nokia touchscreens, something Harlow was keen to point out, such as a much improved gaming experience and brighter screen for better video playback. As such, it no longer makes sense, Jo told us, for XpressMusic to be the accompanying moniker on these devices. Instead, Xseries was born and sits more comfortably alongside Nseries and Eseries. No more XpressMusic.

Music plays a big part in emerging markets too. The X3 is designed specifically for those areas where affordability is key and much to the displeasure of a nearby table of foreign journalists, Jo showed us just how loud the X3 speakers would go. This is a key factor in countries where typically the music phone becomes the centre piece for parties, offering both the music, and the stereo. With the recent launch of Comes with Music in India, the combination of these devices and services is surely going to be a great success.

Liz Schimel is head of music at Nokia and she took us through some updates on Nokia Music. Over the last 11 months, the Nokia Music store has launched in 21 countries. Before the end of the year, she expects DRM to start being removed from the tracks available in those stores (all six million of them). One of the biggest successes the music team have seen is both the depth of the music catalogue, but also having genuinely localised offerings. India recently launched with three million tracks, and South Africa with five million, many of them from local artists.

One of the most interesting things to come up relating to music at Nokia World was the album. It seems the album as an art form is making something of a comeback, having been dissipated somewhat by the increase in the purchase of individual tracks over the last couple of years. Services such as Comes with Music, where there’s no restriction on the volume of music downloaded, means downloading whole albums is much easier than other digital music services. This is good for users, and for the artists who go to the trouble of creating them in the first place.

In case you haven’t seen them already, we’ve reposted below the main videos for the new Xseries devices, together with a little treat in the form of Cindy Gomez, of Dance Fabulous fame, performing live at Nokia World 09. Enjoy!

Nokia X6 hands on

Nokia X3 revealed

Cindy Gomez at Nokia World