Three months after its launch in the U.K., the price of Nokia’s unlimited music pre-licensed handset has been slashed from £127.10 ($189.90) to £82.18 ($122.79).
The move comes amid speculation that the service, set for a roll out in other territories this year, has yet to take off with consumers.
Industry sources told Billboard.biz that the sales figures had not been strong. Paolo Pescatore, analyst at CCS Insight, told The Times that sales had been “lacklustre” so far.
There was also concern in the U.K. biz that a major marketing campaign had failed to get across the simple message that the service provides unlimited music downloads for one year from all majors and indies, which users can then retain on their handset and PC.
The Finnish mobile operator’s exclusive retail partner, Carphone Warehouse, said the price cut was part of a sale. Nokia is also introducing more advanced Comes With Music handsets.
Nokia declined to give specific sales figures, although Liz Schimel, Nokia’s global head of music, entertainment and communities, told Billboard.biz that there had been a “double digit” percentage sales increase of Comes With Music handsets in the weeks following the Oct. 16 2008 launch.
“We’re seeing strong growth in sales week on week and really good usage numbers from our consumers,” said Schimel.
She added: “We’re seeing quite strong and consistent consumption up to this point. The consumers are coming on [to the Nokia Music Store] every week and downloading new music and they’re using it on quite a consistent basis which is exactly the kind of usage pattern we’re very happy to see. It becomes part of their daily life to think about coming back in and topping up with new music.”
Schimel said the service will develop and the new 5800 XpressMusic Nokia handset will drive sales of the service. The 5310 did not allow for over-the-air downloads, although newer models will.
Territories for launch in Q1 include Singapore and Australia and Schimel said that a U.S. launch is a possibility at some point.
She added that Comes With Music is a “long term business, it’s about gaining customers by providing them with a great offer and device and then keeping those customers happy throughout a long term relationship.”
Sony Ericsson is set to launch its PlayNow Plus unlimited music pre-licensed handsets in various territories this year. It launched in Sweden last year. LG also has plans for an unlimited service.