1/14/2009 1:35:00 PM
Nokia hits critical phase in attracting Comes With Music customers
The promise of unlimited free music, wall-to-wall promotions in the country’s biggest mobile retail chain and a nationwide advertising campaign that was impossible to avoid has appeared insufficient in attracting customers to Nokia’s new service.
Comes With Music has so far failed to generate interest and sales, after a poll of several Carphone Warehouse stores, the exclusive retailer for the first Comes With Music handset, the 5310, all reporting dreadful sales.
Unable to secure widespread operator backing for a service that networks deemed to work against their interest, Nokia partnered with Carphone – a proven channel to create excitement around a proposition, generate footfall and get the tills ringing.
One senior manufacturer executive said: ‘If Carphone gets behind something, you know that they will have done everything. So if it doesn’t work, it’s probably something wrong with the product.’
Comes With Music dominated Carphone stores – it was plastered over the windows and special tables were dedicated to the music packages in stores, with laptops, speakers and headphones demonstrating the service.
Nokia attempted to generate more footfall with a vast TV, press, outdoor and digital advertising campaign in excess of £10m for the music service in the run-up to Christmas.
Last week Nokia reported that its upcoming flagship touch-screen handset, the 5800 XpressMusic phone, will not have the Comes With Music service when it comes out later this month, which goes against the original plan.
The music service will eventually be launched on the new touch-screen 5800 but customers will have to wait if they want the service and handset together. Nokia claimed this week that the reason for holding back the service on the Nokia 5800 was to avoid any glitches on its new handset.
Comes With Music was released exclusively to Carphone in October 2008 on the Nokia 5310, a low-end, prepay handset, with many Carphone staffers bemoaning the missed opportunity to create a buzz for the service by packaging it with a new device such as the N96 or even the 5800.
One Carphone staffer said: ‘Why do people pay for iTunes? When you put the glamour of something like the iPhone in front of them it’s easy to see why.’
Nokia recently confirmed that the music download service would be available on its latest Nseries flagship handset, the N96. But staff are concerned that customers who already have the N96 will feel snubbed when they are unable to access the Comes With Music service. Worse still for Nokia, consumers won’t care.
Another Carphone salesman said: ‘If you were an existing customer and a new service came out on a handset you had already paid for, and then was not available to you, wouldn’t you be annoyed?’
Despite this, some staff are optimistic that sales will pick up with the launch on newer devices. One Carphone staffer said: ‘It could be given a kick start with the N96.’ Sales on the service are believed to have seen a small jump during the Christmas rush.
However, this slow start isn’t the launch Nokia had expected.
The problems with Comes With Music
The six factors that have contributed to Nokia’s music service falling flat:
- Sideload only. Inability to download over the air
- People don’t understand the proposition
- Launched with an unexciting phone. Should have coincided with launch of the N96
- Limited music catalogue
- Potential to lose music. DRM protected
- People already committed to iTunes or illegal file sharing