If mama taught us one thing about free offers, it’s read the fine print. Unfortunately, it was missing from Nokia’s unusually tight-lipped “Comes with Music” announcement yesterday. Fortunately, Ars Technica unearthed the dirty details for us. Nokia’s service is actually a first to fit under Universal’s Total Music plan whereby carriers or device manufacturers tithe Universal a fee of about $5 per month for each device sold. While it appears free to end users, the cost is baked into the handset and/or data plans from your friendly neighborhood carriers. Oh, and it’s slathered in DRM — PlaysForSure DRM in fact making your tracks incompatible with both Zunes and iPods. Burning a CD will require an “upgrade purchase” for the tracks you received for free. Look, we don’t mind paying for tracks, in fact, we expect to. But all this underhanded sneakiness is just silly. This is not the future (at least we hope not).
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