Nokia extends free streaming music service to U.S. consumers


Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is expanding its free streaming music service to the U.S. market, promising Lumia smartphone owners access to more than 150 exclusive playlists presented without commercial interruption.

Nokia Music was introduced overseas late last year in conjunction with the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710, the handset maker's first smartphones running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone operating system. The music service touts playlists spanning a variety of genres, curated by U.S.-based music experts as well as performers including Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Lana Del Rey. Consumers may also select the 'Create' function, which generates customized playlists inspired by their favorite artists. All playlists are available for offline listening. Nokia Music additionally boasts Gig Finder, which triangulates a consumer's current location and identifies nearby live performances.

Lumia device owners can download the Nokia Music app from Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace. The service requires no registration or subscription signup. Nokia will promote the service to U.S. consumers by partnering with pop-punk trio Green Day on exclusive playlists available for AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) subscribers.

Nokia will rely on the streaming music service to help improve its visibility in the U.S. market: As of the end of the second quarter of 2012, Windows Phone units make up just 3.8 percent of all smartphones nationwide, according to comScore data. Nokia is expected to unveil new Lumia handsets based on the forthcoming Windows Phone 8 during a media event Wednesday.

Nokia pulled the plug on its Ovi Music digital download service in January 2011. The all-you-can-eat service, launched in late 2008 under the Comes With Music brand, offered DRM-free MP3 files playable across PCs, Macs and personal music players. Analysts blamed Ovi Music's failure on inferior handsets and confusing marketing messages.

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