Nokia’s Music service has been limited to Windows Phone devices since its launch in September, which severely limited the potential reach of Music given Microsoft‘s small share of the smartphone market (although Nokia did just refresh the app). Today it expands to the Windows RT and Windows 8 operating systems, which gives Nokia a much bigger target audience.
Music has an online streaming service that’s a little more like Apple’s iTunes Genius system crossed with digital radio than free-choice apps like Spotify, because it delivers pre-selected mixes of music after you start it with a track of your choice–and you can only skip a certain number of tracks.
Music does have a MP3 store, too. It doesn’t cost to use Music on smartphones, but for its release onto bigger platforms Nokia is requiring users to pay $3.99 a month (in the U.S.).
The push is a deliberate play to more cheaply rival iTunes on Apple’s iOS devices, Google Music on Androids, and Microsoft’s own Xbox Music.
Apple, in particular, has no low-cost/free system like this available to users, which makes Nokia’s move interesting.
Fresh rumors, however, say that the company is very close to closing negotiations with its existing iTunes music partners to launch an “iRadio” system, presumably to be a subscription-based online streaming music system, sometime in the summer across up to a dozen territories–including the U.S.