Nokia is to scrap its Ovi Music Unlimited service in 27 of the 33 countries where it is offered, including the UK.
The service, which enables Nokia owners to download unlimited music to their phones free of charge, has been scrapped from new devices altogether, although existing contracts will still be honoured.
Ovi Music Limited started life back in 2008 as Comes With Music, and came bundled on a number of handsets, including the budget 5310 and the 5800 XpressMusic. At the time it was hailed as a potential rival to Apple's iTunes, what with Universal Music, EMI, Warner Music Group and Sony Music all signed up to provide Nokia fans with free tunes.
However, a combination of mediocre hardware supporting the service and strict DRM that stopped music from being enjoyed anywhere else meant it never lived up to its initial billing.
According to Finnish site E's PhoneBlog, Nokia stopped shipping handsets with Ovi Music Unlimited on board at the turn of the year. However, anyone purchasing a new handset offering the service will still be able to activate their 12-month subscription, and all running subscriptions will be honoured for their duration.
“The markets clearly want a DRM-free music service,” a Nokia spokesman told Reuters, before confirming that Nokia will continue to sell music – DRM-free – through the Ovi Music Store as before.
The only countries where the service will continue to be offered on new devices are China, India and Indonesia, where the 12-month subscription will remain, and Brazil, Turkey and South Africa, where a shorter six-month contract will be offered.