Music Recommenders offering to launch Nov.
Nokia, the world's biggest mobile-phone maker, has linked up with David Bowie and 40 independent local music stores worldwide, to launch a new digital music-discovery service.
The Music Recommenders service, due to go live in November, is the latest music-related operation from Nokia following its acquisition earlier this year of Loudeye, the digital-music service provider.
The participating stores include London-based Pure Groove, Chicago's Reckless, Fat Beats in New York and Berlin-based Hard Wax.
Each participating retailer will suggest up to 20 new local releases on a monthly basis. They then send the physical versions of the tracks (CD or vinyl) to Nokia.
Once rights clearance is obtained, Nokia encodes the songs and posts them on the Music Recommenders Web site.
Having registered their preferences, subscribers are then sent emails containing 30-second music clips of the latest releases. The user has an option to purchase and download the full song to their PC or a multimedia cell phone such as Nokia's N91 handset.
The Music Recommenders Web site will be rolled out market by market. The first two markets will be the United Kingdom and Australia. Tracks will cost £0.89 ($1.66) in Britain, or A$1.99 ($1.47) in Australia.
As the catalog of songs grow, subscribers will be able to search by genre, artists, and style, among other categories.
"A lot of the music comes from independent labels that don't have global distribution. And there is no way you can cross the Atlantic to get to Fat Beats to find out what they are selling," David Roberton, Music Recommenders' head of marketing, tells Billboard.biz. "We only use material that is totally cleared. And for our first offerings, we've even tracked down obscure labels in Jamaica to acquire the rights and make sure everything is above board."
Bowie will act at Music Recommenders' "godfather," Roberton says. Every month, he will contribute feature articles and podcasts about new music he has recently discovered.
The site will also feature a short film starring Bowie and directed by Germany's Wim Wenders, who helmed the critically-acclaimed "Buena Vista Social Club" from 1999. "Bowie is the ultimate discoverer and evangelist of new music," Roberton says.
"Unfortunately, so much music goes unheard, especially things that don't bow to mainstream," Bowie said in a statement. "Music Recommenders help navigate the undiscovered music that is out there."