A free music-download service on your mobile? Cool. Nokia’s new “Comes With Music” offer? Dumb. The details are sketchy so far, but it sounds like Nokia has done a deal with Universal Music to offer downloads of the record company’s catalogue for free, with the cost of the music built into the price of the phone. So far, so good. Unfortunately, it sounds like the files are also DRM-laden, and thus crippled.
According to The Register, the songs will be playable only on one PC (not Mac or Linux) and on a Nokia device, and that’s it. While they will not expire — as music downloaded with some other services does — you can’t burn them to CD or play them anywhere else, although there are hints that burning might be allowed for a fee. Seamus McCauley says that such moves say one thing to him: “uncomprehending death spiral.”