Orange today announced they will be ‘exclusively’ providing Comes With Music on the Nokia 5800 in the UK. Finally Nokia’s Come With Music gets the route to market it needs.
I’ve long been a strong advocate of CWM and that belief remains intact despite reportedly poor sales to date. Nokia always needed strong channel partner participation to make the service a success. Without the route-to-market, marketing support and – most crucially – subsidy support that the operators provide CWM is left looking like an overpriced, under featured oddity. But with the support of an operator it comes into its own.
Orange packages start at just 25 pounds a month. For this consumers not only get a decent number of voice minutes and texts, but they also get the handset for free and unlimited music that they get to own for ever. That is a compelling proposition and offers genuine value for money. Unsubsidized, the cost in Italy for the same handset and music service, but without a voice and text tariff is just short of 500 Euros. The comparison is stark and is central to why CWM has under-whelmed thus far.
CWM is an exciting product because, when packaged correctly, looks and feels like free to the consumer. In this context DRM restrictions and a phone that falls short of iPhone sexiness are entirely tolerable. But with a premium price point they become non-starters.
CWM, along with the likes of Spotify, We7, Last.FM and imeem, is one of the key weapons that the music industry has in its armoury to fight free with free itself. CWM may not be free, but packaged like this it ‘feels like free’ and that’s enough to have real potential of pulling young music fans away from illegal downloading on a scale that hasn’t yet been achieved.