Monday, July 27, 2009

The Problem with Nokia Music

I was really excited to see that Nokia Music had been updated to version 1.3; hopefully some useful functionality had at last been added. But once again I was disappointed.

I own a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, and when I chose this phone, I imagined that it would replace my aging iPod Nano as my MP3 player of choice. After all, this was Nokia's music phone, and my expectations were high. iPods have been around for ages, so surely Nokia would have raised the bar in terms of functionality?

Well, apparently the programmers working on the Nokia Music application have never heard of the iPod, nor do they have much interest in music.

You see, I listen to a lot of music via my PC (MediaMonkey) and my MP3 player, and my music collection on my PC is in excess of 30Gb. However, with only 8Gb available on my Nano I am able to keep my music fresh and valid with the use of 3 key function:

  1. Ratings: I use the simple star functions to rate the music I like most. These can be changed on the Nano while I am listening to the track, and they automatically update the ratings on my PC when I sync.
  2. Play count and Last Played: Similarly, this data is updated on my PC when I sync.
  3. Auto Playlists: Most important of all, I have created autoplaylists on my PC that update the Playlist based on the above.

Based on the above, fresh playlists of all my favourite tracks are created every time I connect my iPod to my PC. Depending on the set of autoplaylists selected for the device, recently listened to tracks are automatically removed and new content is added.

Doesn't everyone do this?

Why then does Nokia's premier phone and PC app not have any of this essential functionality?

In fact, while it is relatively easy to add new music to the phone via the useful drag & drop function, I have still not been able to successfully remove older content with Nokia Music, let alone conduct a proper 'sync'. After having had to reformat my memory card twice I have given up trying, and now use the very basic music app included in PC Suite.

Nokia have put a lot of work into the Nokia Music Store, which is accessed via the Nokia Music app. However, tracks downloaded from the Store have DRM embedded, so despite the reasonable pricing (in SA), I won't be bothering anytime soon. The 'My Music' player side of the app is slow and clunky. It battles with my mere 30Gb; how would it be with 100Gb?

What the team at Nokia seem to have forgotten, however, is that people actually listen to their music, both on the PCs and on their MP3 players, and for that to work properly, Nokia Music has to be their music player of choice. I'll be sticking with MediaMonkey!

Thanks for reading.