Yesterday we inflated a very appealing balloon. We told you Nokia was launching a new music service that offered the very attractive 'unlimited downloads' model of purchasing music. Disappointingly, it turns out that Nokia's free lunch comes with a big fat side order of fail.
We knew the unlimited downloads would be DRMed, and we accepted that, with some scepticism. But it transpires that although your music is still valid when your 'subscription' ends, in order to acquire more music you'll need to purchase a whole new device! This is because the subscription is between Nokia and Universal, not the record label and the consumer. Not only that, but in order to put those downloads on a consumer-friendly CD you'll need to pay additional fees for every single blinkin' track.
What's more, none of these downloads will be transcodable into other formats thanks to the DRM, so be prepared for a hard time listening to your 'free' music on your favourite MP3 player or in the car.
Ars Technica dug up some further info, so pop over and take a glance if you're after some more details, but forget about Nokia's new service offering anything more than a crippled train wreck of a service. Just stick to whatever you're doing now, which hopefully involves not supporting DRMed media with your money. We recommend checking out iTunes Plus, eMusic or 7digital, supporting EMI's releases (it's the only major label that understands DRM) and buying major-label releases from used CD outlets, sellers and online stores, such as Amazon's Marketplace. -Nate Lanxon
Update: Nokia has responded to some of the specific criticisms of the service raised by Ars Technica's piece. It confirmed that consumers would have to buy a new device at the end of the year's subscription period if they wanted to continue downloading music, but added that it was in negotiations with several record labels over this business model.
Nokia also said that handsets with Comes With Music will be available SIM-free from Nokia stores at a "competitive" price, but made no comment on whether it would be available on contracts.