Finnish mobile phone company Nokia will launch the Australian version of its online music store next Tuesday (April 22), offering 2.5 million tracks.

Sony BMG Music Entertainment Australia, Universal Music Australia and EMI Music Australia have signed up. Negotiations are continuing with Warner Music Australia, according to Karen Farrugia, Sydney-based music service manager for Nokia in Australia and New Zealand.

At least 45% of the licensed tracks are by Australian acts, says Nokia. It has signed up 25 major Aussie independents, including Eleven A Music Company, MGM Distribution, Dew Process, Albert Productions, Roadshow Music, Ivy League, Liberation Records, Modular and Shock Entertainment.

Its launch, at music.nokia.com.au, will feature exclusive tracks from singer songwriters Pete Murray and Kate Miller-Heidke, with multi-platinum roots act John Butler Trio to launch its next album through the service.

Individual tracks from the service will retail for A$1.70 ($1.59) and albums will cost upwards of A$17 ($15.90). Apple iTunes in Australia charges A$1.69 ($1.58) per track.

The Australian pricing is similar to that of the U.K. Nokia store, which opened for business Nov. 1 last year with a la carte tracks priced at £0.80 ($1.50) and £8 ($15.90) per album.

Nokia's monthly subscription service will be priced at A$10 ($9.36) each month, but the service is for streaming only via PC, with no provision for copying music to a portable device.

Only the higher-end Nokia models like the N95 and N76 can facilitate downloads. Customers will be able to sync mobile downloads with their PCs.

Nokia claims to have sold more than 146 million music-playing phones globally in 2007.

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