Nokia has launched its Ovi Music Unlimited (OMU) service, alongwith plans to launch of its X2 handset in India in the third quarter of 2010. Following the Apple model of using the service to sell the device, OMU makes available to customers who buy a Nokia OMU enabled device like the X2, 4 million legal digital tracks, free for a year.
The Unlimited subscription model was first launched by Hungama with BSNL last year; Hungama.com was later launched separately at Rs. 99 per month. We haven’t been able to install the OMU software at first attempt, hence couldn’t ascertain whether Nokia also allows users to purchase a subscription; indications are, it is unlikely, which is disappointing and limiting.
The content available covers tracks from 19 genres, including Rock, Rap, Hip Hop, Pop, Bollywood, Sufi, Indipop, Indian Classical, Devotional, Ghazals, Malayalam, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi and Bhojpuri, among others, in partnership with over 150 local music labels and publishers, including the Indian Music Industry (IMI), and “Hungama, which represents major labels including Yash Raj, Tseries, Eros; and SIMCA (South Indian Music Companies Association), amongst others.” That statement almost makes Hungama appear like an industry body.
What I find most interesting in the announcement, is the introduction of an element of portability, and customizations made for the Indian market: Nokia will allow OMU users to share tracks with other OMU users via Bluetooth. Additionally, users get to keep all their downloaded music forever. However, note that music can still not be written to a CD or transferred to those without an OMU subscription.
They also claim to have reduced the size of the Ovi client from 60 MB to 3MB (post installation on my PC, the software required 23 mb of space), allow multiple PC access to address issues of low PC penetration (frankly, given that this is Nokia that we are taking about, the approach should be “mobile first”), and expansion of search parameters to include actor, actress and movie names. The Indian music industry is largely around Bollywood and films.
What’s missing? In terms of localization, while Nokia has the software in several international languages, they don’t appear to have bothered with Indic scripts/language interface.
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