Warner joins Nokia’s music service

Comes With Music to launch this year

Warner Music Group has become the third major to join Nokia’s proposed “all you can eat” model, making its catalog available to Nokia Music Stores and its Comes With Music service.

Comes With Music is expected to launch in the second half of this year on several Nokia devices in selected territories. With a single purchase, consumers will have access to a year of downloadable music that may be kept in a permanent library.

Warner joins Universal Music Group Intl. and Sony BMG Music in the launch of the Nokia service. Nokia is in talks with other international labels, including EMI.

Warner Music Group chairman-CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. endorsed the Comes With Music service as “the first global initiative to fundamentally align the interests of music companies with telecommunications companies.”

Bronfman has long supported alignment with mobile phone companies. Consumer acceptance of subscription services has been slow to develop, so the phone companies appear to be natural allies as the diskeries attempt to recover from an eight-year financial freefall.

If successful, the Nokia subscription model may establish a new retail standard. While major labels struggle to get consumers to consistently pay for music, mobile phone carriers have been able to add billable services that gain traction with buyers.

The Nokia Music Store, which offers downloads and streaming services, is available in Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden and the U.K. and is expanding to additional countries.

(Gordon Masson in London contributed to this report.)

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