Nokia launches Music+ subscription service for Lumia phones

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Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is rolling out a premium tier upgrade for its Lumia-exclusive streaming music service, introducing new and expanded features giving consumers greater control over their listening experience.

Nokia Music+, priced at $3.99 per month and launching over the coming weeks across 24 international markets, does not replace the free Music service launched in the U.S. last fall. The premium version adds unlimited downloads and skips, higher quality streams, lyrics (presented in a scrolling list, Karaoke-style format or a display users can scroll up and down) and a Web application supporting desktop access.

Nokia Vice President of Entertainment Jyrki Rosenberg told The Guardian that Music+ is designed as an alternative to more expensive streaming music services like Spotify, which offers mobile access for $9.99 per month. "When we analyzed the market, it was pretty clear from our research that this type of service is still targeting a fairly narrow segment of the market--I would say less than 10 percent, initially," Rosenberg said. "That's why it's important with this new tier to still be addressing a large part of the market, not limiting ourselves to less than 10 percent of it. [$3.99] is still affordable enough for us to be focusing on the mass market."

The original Nokia Music first launched overseas in late 2011 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 service expanded to the U.S. market last September, touting playlists curated by 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. Nokia Music additionally boasts Gig Finder, which triangulates a consumer's current location and identifies nearby live performances.

As of the end of 2012, Nokia has sold 13.3 million Lumia devices. The company has never disclosed Nokia Music usage metrics, but Rosenberg said "If we talk activation rates--how many people who bought a Lumia activate the service--that number is very big. The great majority of users activate it."

For more:
- read this Nokia Conversations blog entry
- read this Guardian article

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