Will Nokia launch an iTunes-rivalling online music service?

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nokia_music_download_service.gifNokia could well be gearing up to launch its own mobile music download service, if recent reports in Fortune Magazine are proved correct.

Sources close to Nokia’s CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, claim that the new worldwide service could launch on 29th August at a London event featuring live music at the Ministry of Sound nightclub.

They also claim that the system would work much like iTunes, offering downloads of music tracks to a PC for transferring to mobile devices – either Nokia’s own, or others via DRM software.

At launch, the service could have up to one million songs, which is a lot less than iTunes’ current five million, though it’s not clear which artists and labels may have been signed.

Of course, officially Nokia is tight-lipped, though such a move would make sense if they want to break away from what mobile operators offer, such as Vodafone’s Live portal.

Given that some have criticised Apple’s iPhone for not allowing Over the Air (OTA) music downloads, it’s a little surprising that Nokia’s sources claim that they’d adopt the same ‘sideloading’ approach.

It’s highly unlikely that Nokia’s service would work on an iPhone, and I’m not convinced that a two to three month European head start will make much difference to those who want an iPhone regardless. For the rest, though, it could provide a decent alternative to iTunes, though Sony Ericsson may also be entering the music download market later this year – less surprising given the success of their Walkman music phones.

(Via CNN Money)

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Andy Merrett