Nokia jumps on music store bandwagon, teaming up with Loudeye

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Nokia may be looking to challenge Apple’s iTunes service by launching one of its own, as it buys out Loudeye. They’re setting their sights on multi-function mobile devices as being the preferred medium for enjoying music, through Nokia’s own products like the N91.

Nokia sold more than 15 million music-enabled devices worldwide in the 2nd quarter this year, which it claims makes it the world’s largest manufacturer of digital music players (hmmm).

They’re confident that Loudeye, who currently provide the service for a large number of online music stores including Oxfam’s Big Noise Music, MSN and MTV, have the experience, and rights to a substantial quanity of music, to make this a success.

It will be interesting to see how quickly this is taken up. Apple have done well (despite criticism) by tying in the iPod to its iTunes store, and I wonder if Nokia will do the same with its handsets.

One of the big pains I foresee, for anyone who has both a Nokia music phone and an iPod, is DRM headaches and the inability to transfer music. Particularly if the services end up having different music catalogues, users could end up with their collections scattered across different devices that won’t communicate with one another – hardly the integrated digital experience.

What do you think? Will this deal make Nokia a serious contender in the market, or will they just be another bit-part player against the giant of iTunes?

Andy Merrett