I’m afraid I have to disagree with my colleague Michael. I still think the Nokia announcement is just as ground breaking.
‘Comes with Music’ was always going to be wrapped with DRM, the industry isn’t ready yet for giving consumers all the music they want for nothing (or near to nothing) without DRM. Nor should they be. Subsidized subscription services like this sit along side ad-supported services as new ways to reach broader online music audiences. They fundamentally need DRM to differentiate themselves from premium paid services such as iTunes, which, if you follow the argument through, need to drop DRM. So DRM needs to go from paid download stores, DRM is dead! But DRM is needed for the other two layers of services, Long Live DRM! We’re writing a report on this very topic, so watch this space for more details.
Finally, there’s another, more cynical, reason that, as Michael rightly says, “no iPod owners need apply”. Universal have firmly set their sights on knocking Apple down to size. But don’t just take my previous post’s word for it, take a look at Wired’s already infamous interview with Doug Morris.