Nokia’s Ovi Music Unlimited Deserves More Credit Than It Receives

When ‘Comes With Music’ was first launched, I was skeptical. There were obvious evils, DRM’d tracks, additional cost for the service when you could get the same handset for cheaper without it, a not so stellar PC client, no Mac support to name the popular ones. The rollout of CWM devices was slow, scattered and thus adoption slow. It never really got the popularity that some of Nokia’s other Ovi services such as Maps received and didn’t become a huge selling point. That should change, here’s why.

Nokia's Ovi Music Unlimited Deserves More Credit Than It Receives

The price at which the N8 sells in India, is the cheapest anywhere in the world. Despite that, it comes with a subscription to Ovi Music Unlimited, essentially giving you access to over 4 million songs for the grand price of free. The Nokia N8 is my first ‘Comes With Music’ device, or rather my first ‘Ovi Music Unlimited’ device as Nokia would have me say. Read on to find out my experience with the store.

Till now you had to scratch the Nokia Music Store voucher, retrieve the pin, enter it on the music.ovi.com portal and then get access to the music. With the N8, everything was seamless, you sign in with your Ovi account in the beginning and everything is activated automatically, no scratching for a pin, nothing. The phone automatically receives the activation PIN code as a text message, but you never really have to use it. Infact, you can start downloading even without signing in to your Ovi Account, that’s only needed if you want to use the service on the PC as well.

Once you launch the Ovi Music app on the mobile, you see a neatly organised music store with the latest popular releases highlighted and options to get to other genres, playlists and so on. If it is an album you are browsing, there is a neat download all button at the top or you can choose to download tracks individually as well.

Nokia's Ovi Music Unlimited Deserves More Credit Than It Receives Nokia's Ovi Music Unlimited Deserves More Credit Than It Receives

However, if you are browsing music by playlists, charts or any other medium that is not a album you will not be able to download all tracks in one go. I do hope an update to the client brings this ability as well. Another thing I would like to see is the ability to mark tracks in one go and then download the selection.

Nokia's Ovi Music Unlimited Deserves More Credit Than It Receives Nokia's Ovi Music Unlimited Deserves More Credit Than It Receives

Everytime you open Ovi Music app, it automatically signs you in and takes you to the store selection page, so it takes about 5 seconds by the time you actually get to the store, its not a huge irritant, but Nokia would do well to make this even more seamless. Other than that the store is easy enough to navigate and the search works well.

In India, Ovi Music comes with over 150 local labels (T-Series, Yash Raj Music, Venus, Saregama, Tips), along with support for the major international labels. Add to that music in regional languages such as Malayalam, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil and Marathi. I need not go into the depth of the Ovi Music library, suffice it to say you will even be able to find 50 year old music that otherwise would be next to impossible to find.

One major nicety about music downloaded from the Ovi Music Store is than all the meta-data is there, artist/album information, album art and so on. On the new Symbian^3 devices, it a pleasure to scroll through music this way and it continuously makes you want to download more.

Nokia's Ovi Music Unlimited Deserves More Credit Than It Receives

Under the ‘Ovi Music Unlimited’ service, all tracks that you download come with DRM restrictions and I can already see a lot of you moan. However, the N8 doesn’t make you feel bound. There is a 3.5mm jack for headphones, you can even play music over the HDMI connector, over bluetooth headphones and to top it all there is an FM transmitter. Then, if you have friends who also happen to have a ‘OMU’ device, you can share music between yourselves via bluetooth or otherwise. If you work on a Windows computer, then your desktop needs are settled too. Not only is the Ovi Music Client for PC’s in India much lighter (3MB v 60 MB) but you can also use multiple PC’s to download music to your phone, that’s a lot of freedom considering you are dealing with DRM’d tracks here.

What I liked:

  • Millions of songs, free to download.
  • Built in OMU cost, the N8 still cheapest compared to anywhere in the world.
  • Ability to download complete albums in one go, on the go.
  • 30 second live streaming previews which help you decided if you want to download the song.

What could be better:

  • The startup/loading time of the app.
  • Ability to select individual songs from an album/playlist and download them in one go.
  • Work with developers like Shazam to make an version that identifies the song, and then lets you download it straight from the Ovi Music Store.

All in all, Ovi Music Unlimited is a much bigger deal that I thought. Infact, it has become my most used Ovi service, I might use the store a few times a week or maps to navigate once a week, but when you know there is so much music just waiting to be heard, you visit much more often. It is also one of the major reasons why I like the N8. Ovi Music Unlimited along with the FM transmitter makes it the best portable music player on the planet, far ahead of anything Apple with its iTunes can achieve. Armed with an app like Shazam, Ovi Music Unlimited could be a music enthusiast’s dream.

18 thoughts on “Nokia’s Ovi Music Unlimited Deserves More Credit Than It Receives”

  1. Sounds great, now if only the CMW or shall I say the OVMU were only available in Canada. Not to mention the N8, no info on if it will ever arrive here. Onna have to drive south of the 49th parallel to buy one in the US. I wouldmuch rather spend my money in Canada, alas the carrier cartels limit tech and availability of new hardware.

  2. Same experience with me. Do Nokia run at a loss with the Ovi Music. It is a very good deal.

    BTW, you haven’t mentioned that it’s only for a year though?

    One bummer for me is that the songs are wma.

  3. @manojlds:
    Its not for one year it is unlimited. Once registered i got a message saying I can use it beyond my expiry date.

    I think the integration with Shazam is available now. I remember reading an article about it. Havnet tried it though.

  4. I received my N8 from Nokia as part of the Nokia Make My App competition. The Nokia N8 i received does not support OVI Music Unlimited.

  5. Good to see someone but some facts and global perspective into this. I cannot count how many times I have read the BS “Ovi Music is a fail”. Obviously those retards do not even understand the difference between Ovi Music in general and Comes with Music/Music Unlimited (the latter is so much better a name). Btw, its “a failure”, not “a fail” you idiots on Howard Forums. :P

  6. Dileep, that’s probably because your N8 came from Finland direct, sans localization.

    Viipottaja, personally speaking I liked the name ‘Comes With Music’ a lot more, but to appeal to the masses and perhaps, make people understand in one go, using Ovi Music Unlimited is sensible.

  7. Hi, i had n8 purchased in india, i can download somgs in OVI, but i cannot able to set as a ringtone, do some one help me in this rgd.

    Thanks

  8. I have used this for one year and to all who say Nokia should be better, i want you to compare itunes and Ovi side by side in two PCs and I bet its far easier to browse in Ovi than itunes. Very simple,, Only music and thats best

  9. N8 users,
    OVI Unlimited download is just for a year, not more than that! I know becoz i can no longer download saying “redeem voucher” and when i checked my receipt, i found out that my Nokia N8 birthday has just passed :) Anyways, how to redeem it? Can it be done through sms (deducting from main balance) since i dont have credit card?? Pls help/advice or redeem my voucher ;)

  10. Ovi music unlimited is expired on my nokia n8.i want to subscribe it once again.how much it will cost?

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