nokia-music-store-india
Two quarters later than expected, but Nokia has finally launched its Music Store in India, the Symbian Blog reported on Sunday. A Nokia spokesperson told MediaNama that, though the store is live, it hasn’t been launched for consumers: one can’t buy music as of today.

It appears that the Indian Music Industry is headed for unchartered territory, with Nokia launching its Music Store, and digital content distributor Hungama also throwing its hat into the ring with unlimited downloads at its store.

(Click here, or on the screencap for a view of the storefront of Nokia Music Store for India)

We downloaded the desktop client for the Nokia Music Store to get a sense of the usability and purchasing options. But first, the content they’ve licensed:
Content Available

logo-nokia-comes-with-music

From what we’ve gathered from industry sources, content is still being added to the Nokia Music store. Looking around the store for labels, it appears that almost every key label has tied up with Nokia. We found music from the following labels/producers (Note: most of the links below link to related screenshots):

— Yash Raj Films: screenshot of the album for New York.
— Universal Music: screenshot of a song from Lucky Ali’s Sur.
— Saregama: screenshot of a Kishore Kumar Retrospective album.
Sony BMG: screenshot of Anandha Thaandavam
T-Series, so Hungama is on board: a screenshot of the Dev D album.
— Regional label Big Music – so Phoneytunes is on board: screenshot.

It looks like a substantial amount of content is on b0ard, including regional labels like Ramaa Communication, Gitaa Cassettes and Catrack Entertainment. Content is segmented as follows:

Bollywood
Regional: includes storefronts for Bengali, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu/Kannada, Punjabi, and Others.
Devotional
— Ghazal/Sufi
Indian Classical
Indipop

The Desktop Client, Music Search

Installing the client is time consuming, and rather frustrating. It took a few hours for all the components (screenshot) – .Net framework, Microsoft Windows Media Compontent, Nokia Connectivity Cable Driver, PC Connectivity Software, MS VC++ 2005 SP1 and the Nokia Music client to be installed. That’s just too tedious, compared to an iTunes installation which takes much less time.

 

The Nokia Music Store is fairly similar to the iTunes store in look and feel, and is userfriendly and easy to use. The client searches the consumers hard disk and allows her to play music from within the store, much like iTunes. We quite liked the search (screenshot), but Nokia will have to adapt it for India, since users are more likely to search for movies than specific singers, because much of the music content is film based.

 

content-rightsContent Options: DRM, Portability, CDs

The Nokia Music store allows users to burn content on to 10 CDs, and transfer it to unlimited Portable devices. However, the content is protected by Microsoft DRM, and hence will not work on iPods. I guess that takes a large chunk of the portable device market away from Nokia, but still works for mobile handset market, which Nokia is primarily looking to target. Nevertheless, No DRM is always better than DRM, and it provides consumers with an inferior experience – if I’ve bought the music, I should not be limited to 10 CDs.

Pricing and Payment Options

We tried to buy some music, but came were told that we’re “out of credits“, and need to enter a PIN number to buy credits. There appears to be only this payment option so far, and credit and debit card payments have not been enabled. We wonder if Nokia is only taking a direct to consumer route. As we’ve mentioned before, that would be a big gamble indeed.

P.s.: The Symbian Blog has mobile screenshots. We’ll update with some of our own tomorrow.

Related:
— Hungama To Launch Unlimited Download Music Store
— BSNL & Hungama Launch Broadband Content Service: Music @Rs. 149/Month
— On Nokia’s Big Direct To Consumer Gamble With Ovi; JV With HCL
— Live: Nokia To Launch Music Store In India On 18th Dec; IMI, Hungama, Universal
— Nokia To Launch Music Store In India In Early 2009