Updated to reflect comments from The Echo Nest
After the failure of its Comes With Music service in 2011, Nokia is once again trying introduce a music-streaming service in the U.S. in an attempt to improve flagging sales.
Nokia is launching a new, free music streaming service available for customers who own a Lumia handset, the company announced Tuesday.
The app is powered by music intelligence platform The Echo Nest, which previously worked with Nokia on its MixRadio service in Europe last year.
Users will be encouraged make their own playlists, using the Create feature, which will give them access to millions of songs in Nokia’s MP3 store. When a user chooses an artist or a song, The Echo Nest builds a station around that artist, generating a playlist.
Dave Rodger, VP of Product at Sommerville, Massachusetts-based The Echo Nest, said in an interview that the playlist is based on a multitude of factors: similiarity between both music and culture, as well as trending songs by that artist. The Echo Nest bridges technology and people to make the most compelling choice for the listener.
"Music is an incredible way to bring people together," Rodger said.
In addition to the playlists generated by The Echo Nest, the new Nokia Music app will feature over 150 playlists, including some created by well-known artists, including Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga and Rihanna. Nokia will allo customers to listen to their playlists offline.
Nokia Music also offers the Gig Finder feature, which customers can use to find concerts and shows based on their location.
The app will be ad-free and will not require a subscription.
"The USA is the most vibrant and competitive digital music market in the world - by a wide margin. We have worked extra hard to ensure our service meets the expectations of the demanding, active and inspired music fans in the USA,” Jyrki Rosenberg, VP of Entertainment at Nokia, said in a statement.
“I would like to challenge everyone to try Nokia Music and see just how easy and enjoyable the service is to use."
Customers who own a Nokia Lumia 900 or Nokia Lumia 710 can currently download the app for free.
The company will be making another announcement later today, in which it will unveil a partnership between Nokia Music, AT&T and Green Day, which will be centered around Greenday’s new album Uno. Green Day will be performing an special concert and will be providing exclusive playlists to Nokia Music for AT&T consumers.
Nokia will be opening its Nokia World 2012 event starting tomorrow, where it is expected to debut new phones on the Windows Phone operating system from Microsoft.
Failure of Comes With Music
This is not the first time Nokia has waded into the music business, and they have to be hoping things work out better this time.
Nokia had previously launched a music service called Comes With Music in 2008.
The service was meant to take on Apple’s iTunes, bundling yearlong subscriptions to Nokia cellphones, in an attempt to drive up phone sales. Nokia even had agreements with EMI, Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music.
The service failed to attract customers, however partially due to digital rights management. Customers were only able to listen to music on their Nokia handset, and were prevented from sharing music with friends.
After failing to catch on, the service was discontinued in 27 of its 33 markets in January 2011.
Recent Nokia news
Nokia announced in June that it would be cutting some 10,000 jobs, closing factories and other facilities, shifting its management team, selling off its luxury phone company Vertu and buying Scalado.
Nokia has had a rough go for the last two years as higher end smart phones from Apple taking a lion's share of the high-end market and Google Android phones appealing to the price-conscious.
The 10,000 job cuts are aimed to help Nokia reduce costs by a further €1.6 billion ($2 billion) by 2013 and are on top the 14,000 job losses announced last year.
Nokia also dropped a number of executives on its payroll including head of markets and sales Niclas Savander, mobile phones head Mary McDowell, and the recently appointed chief marketing officer Jerri DeVard.
The fledgling Nokia held €4.87 billion in net cash by the end of the first quarter this year, down €709 million from the end of the fourth quarter and down 24% from the same time last year.
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