Nokia today announced its much-mooted ‘iTunes killer, ‘Comes With Music’, an all-you-can eat music service that was originally reported to be going to offer music for permanent retention within the purchase price of the handset.

On the face of it, the deal, available only in the UK seems sanguine enough – but the devil’s in the detail: the music is DRM-protected, can only be registered to two devices (handset and PC) at once, and it becomes impossible to enable the music for other devices after two years.

The deal

– One year’s unlimited access to download and keep as many of a two million-strong music catalogue you like.

– These songs can be kept and played on the handset you get with the deal, and also on one PC.

– Service goes live on 16 October 2008 in the UK

– Nokia 5310 XpressMusic included in price

– Cost is £129.95 

– Available only from the Carphone Warehouse.

The drawbacks

Then it gets kind of complicated.

– Nokia Comes With Music allows tracks to be downloaded directly to your computer, from where they can then be transferred to the handset. Downloaded tracks can be kept on the handset or PC forever – for no additional fee.

– The user is only able to change registered mobile device or PC every three months for a further two years post termination. After two years you won’t be able to transfer it to other machines, at least, that’s the implication.

The service has already been panned as ‘fatally flawed’ by 7digital founder, Ben Drury. Pointing out that the music is available only in DRM-attached files that must be registered to devices, he said,

“Nokia claims users will be able to keep any downloaded tracks forever, even if they decide not to renew their contract. In reality, “forever” means for the lifetime of the device (typically 2 years) or computer they download to – users won’t be able to transfer their music to new, non-Nokia devices in the future.”

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