Warner joins Nokia's Comes With Music

Nokia's Comes With Music, to be launched later in the year, has taken a big step forward, signing up Warner Music, the world's third largest music label.

Those who buy Nokia Comes with Music phones will be allowed to download as many songs as they like from Universal Music, Sony-BMG and Warner for a year. EMI is still proving elusive.

At the end of the year, Nokia believes consumers will be willing to pay a subscription fee for access to new music or  songs from its online catalogue. Given the overwhelming preference of mobile users to sideload music from their PCs, this is a very big assumption.

Nokia executives claim that even if only a small percentage of the group's devices are sold with Comes with Music, annual revenues would exceed €2.54 billion (US$4 billion), equivalent to last year's total digital music sales.

Again, the handset market is becoming increasingly tough - ask Sony Ericsson and Motorola - and as users become more savvy, they are also reluctant to pay extra for features and are a making the most of handsets being a buyers' market.

We are also seeing consumers gravitating towards smartphones, formerly the domain of business users, propelled by the iPhone effect and some smart marketing from RIM, so they might prefer an all-singing and dancing model to one optimised for music. Price structure and timing will be all.