Nokia has decided to stop offering its Ovi Music Unlimited service in 27 of the 33 countries where it was offered, including the UK, the Finnish phone maker said on Monday.
Ovi Music Unlimited, previously known as Comes with Music, is a music subscription that has been included on some Nokia phones. It allows users to download an unlimited amount of music to their PC or over the air to the phone. After the subscription is over users can continue to listen the tracks they have downloaded.
The service will still be offered in China, India and Indonesia with a 12-month subscription and in Brazil, Turkey and South Africa with a 6-month subscription, according to a Nokia spokesman.
In other markets, consumers who have purchased a compatible phone will be able to use the service until the subscription ends, and after that continue to listen to the tracks they have downloaded, the spokesman said. The same applies for phones shipped from Nokia before the end of last year, he said.
The reason for the closure in a majority of the markets where Ovi Music Unlimited was offered is due to a lack of popularity. The service was launched under the Comes with Music brand in October 2008.
Right from the start it became clear that Nokia would struggle when competing with Apple's iTunes music store, said Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at CCS Insight. The countries where Nokia has seen some success and will continue to offer Ovi Music Unlimited are those where Apple isn't as dominant. Nokia's service has also suffered from poor marketing and Nokia's struggles in the smartphone market.
Competition has also toughened, with the arrival of services such as Spotify, which offers users in some countries access to music on their smartphones for a monthly fee.
However, Nokia isn't giving up the idea of offering music altogether. The changes will not affect Nokia's music store. The company is also working on new music related services which will be introduced this year, but is unwilling to share any details at this time, it said.