Finally, U.S. residents have another choice when it comes to streaming music, thanks to Nokia's Music+. It feels like it has taken forever for the service to get to the U.S. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to the new service.
However before going any further, I need to give provide full disclosure; I don't own a Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V), phone never have, never will. I just get a bit chuffed when things are released in the UK first.
Not that I need it in the States first, I'm wintering in sunny Guatemala. Yeah, that's it release it in Guatemala first, especially if you're Nokia. My reasoning? The Blackberry's popularity in Latin America.
Given that a number of analysts don't expect either to be around in a couple of years, perhaps Nokia should embrace Latin America as Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) (now BlackBerry) has in its perceived death throes.
As mentioned, Nokia's Music+ service rolled out in the UK last week and users in the States were offered the opportunity to join them today. At only $3.99 per month, it's seemingly a great deal over the $9.99 per month music services such as Spotify, Rdio, and Rhapsody.
Unfortunately, this "too good to be true" service has a number of limitations, which explains its lower price.
Now, you can create your own custom mixes like the other services, but unlike the others you are limited to three artists and then you will be "treated" to a mix of "similar" music.
This immediately begs questions like is Coldplay similar to Radiohead? Green Day to the Clash? Oasis to Blur? The list goes on, but in this format and in this humble writer's opinion the former in each of these pairings are rubbish and I won't suffer them gladly when they work their way into my mix.
Apparently, or at least until the people at Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) contact me, you need a Lumia smartphone to use Music+ on the go. There are suggestions that this will be remedied with an app that allows uses to a browser for non-Lumia users but we haven't seen it yet.
Nokia's Music+ is not all bad, even nice given its price.
The positives include:
- Lyrics for all the songs you are listening to straight to your phone
- Full desktop functionality
- Higher quality music and the ability to toggle this feature on and off as you switch from your data plan and a WiFi connection.
- Near unlimited downloading and swapping with the paid service.
- Unlimited skipping of tracks as needed. Useful for mixes that include "similar" artists.
A truly nice product that would have made a huge impact years past. I fear it's arrived to late to scare Spotify and Rhapsody and I can't see it, and it alone, boosting Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)'s handset sales. That said, I've been wrong countless times more than I've ever admitted.