What happens when you reach the end of your 12-month Comes With Music contract? It’s a question that’s been asked ever since Nokia launched its unlimited music service in the UK last October.Nokia always made it clear that users would keep all the music they’d downloaded, but fudged the issue of how they would continue to download new tracks without buying a new Comes With Music device.Not any more. “We now have a solution to what happens after the first 12 months,” Nokia’s EVP of Services Niklas Savander told Music Ally this morning, at the company’s Nokia World conference in Stuttgart.“We have an agreement with labels on the subscription model, for a renewal on a monthly basis. We have had a lot of feedback from operators on the need to transition when people reach the end of the 12 months, so this is going to make a big difference with the carriers.”The obvious follow-up question: How much will it cost a month to continue with a Comes With Music subscription? Nokia isn’t putting a figure to it for now, but here’s the thing: it will be set by the company’s operator partners, not by Nokia.Or, more accurately, operators will be able to subsidise the cost if they wish, or even roll it into the customer’s monthly data tariff. “The UK is the first place we will see that in October with Orange,” Savander told us.“It will be interesting to see how operators price it. I know what the set price is for a month, but you know how much money operators are pumping into subsidies in general: do you believe it’s a marketing tool for customer retention, versus a business opportunity?”More thoughts from Savander on Nokia’s music activities:On Comes With Music’s sluggish start in the UK: “The biggest single point of learning was how much effort and co-operation is needed at the point of sale for this solution. It takes 15 seconds to sell a phone in Carphone Warehouse, but it takes over a minute to sell a solution like Comes With Music. So it’s about what we need to do for consumers to walk in and be receptive to that minute-long pitch rather than the 15-second pitch. We underestimated the go-to-market effort that was needed together with us, operators and retail.”On cynical Brits: “It was surprising that the value proposition for Comes With Music was so hard to believe in. It’s a sign of how cynical the Western world has become! People thought we were going to somehow charge them for it later – in a lot of consumer groups we ran, the most common answer was ‘what’s the catch?’ This is also to do with point of sale, but also how we communicated, and how practical and pragmatic we need to be with the examples.”On pitching CWM to young users: “I spent a day in Sweden selling Comes With Music in a retail shop. And the youth are struggling with the concept that you have to pay for music, even though they have realised it’s illegal. It’s a real issue to the music industry, and it’s where we hav a role to play in risk-taking to see if we can turn this trend. It almost paradoxically becomes a question of whether you think 60 Euros is a reasonable price for not breaking the law?”On Spotify and app approvals: “We have to let the consumer choose. If somebody doesn’t like Nokia Music Store and wants Spotify, they have to be able to put that on their phone. It’s one of the deep philosophical differences between us and some of our competitors. If someone doesn’t like Ovi Maps and wants Google Maps, they must be able to install that on their phone. Limiting consumers’ access to services will always catch you in the end.”On taking Comes With Music to emerging markets: “We are very strong as a brand in those markets – in India, we are the most respected of all brands, so if we do a music service, it will have instantaneous credibility. But also, in many of those markets, you have slightly smaller operators who maybe have more of an open multiple partnerships strategy. If you think of some of the big Western operators, with whom we also have a collaboration, they have a much stronger central strategy on how to co-operate, which tends to slow things down a little bit.”

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