Light Reading

Nokia Starts Over With Mobile Music

Sarah Thomas

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is trying its hand at mobile music again, but this time turning on the radio instead of offering a download service.

Through a partnership with Echo Nest, Nokia will pre-install its personalized streaming radio service on future handsets, starting with the Windows Phone-based Lumia 800. (See Nokia Ships First Windows Phone to Europe .)

The free Nokia Music app will include this MixRadio service, along with an MP3 store for music downloads and live concert recommendations. MixRadio uses a browser app to analyze a user’s digital music collection and customize what radio stations it’ll stream. The songs are pulled from Nokia's catalog of over 15 million songs. Similar to the Pandora Media Inc. music app, it allows users to set their own stations based on an artist or song.

Why this matters
Nokia isn’t the only mobile player dabbling in music. BlackBerry has the somewhat-limited BlackBerry Music. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is expected to announce a music download service Wednesday, and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) launched iTunes Match on Monday, letting music listeners include any song on their computers in playlists. (See RIM Ties Music to BlackBerry Messenger and Apple Finds Friends, Synchs With iCloud.)

The question for these new music services, especially Nokia’s, is if the wireless operators will lend their support or if they’ll see them as competitive to their own offerings. Android and Apple have so much market share it may be a moot point for them, but Nokia's problem has always been signing up carrier partners. The handset maker shut down its original music service, Ovi Music Unlimited, early this year, due in large part to the lack of carrier support (and consumer interest). (See Comes With Carriers?)

The wireless operators may be the least of Nokia’s worries, however, as a number of third-party apps like Pandora, Spotify and Rhapsody Networks also look to make sweet music on mobile.

For more
Even wireless operators like Cricket Communications Inc. are trying to make music work on mobile. Read up on the market below.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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