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Nokia, Loudeye to partner on music software

Finnish phone giant buys into the school of thought that says cool new phones must be able to play MP3s.

Digital-media company Loudeye on Monday announced a deal with Nokia to develop a wireless music platform for mobile service providers.

The multiyear agreement includes a "multimillion-dollar commitment to Loudeye" for developing the platform, Loudeye said. More details about the new platform and its availability will be revealed later, the company said.

The partnership continues a trend of cell phone companies trying to turn handsets into MP3 players like Apple Computer's iPod. Music is increasingly being seen as a revenue stream for mobile service providers globally. For instance, Motorola recently signed up with Apple to develop cell phones with iTunes software built in. These handsets are likely to be available in the first half of next year.

"This agreement with Nokia represents a significant strategic opportunity for Loudeye to work with the leading mobile-communications company in the world to develop an advanced wireless music platform," Jeff Cavins, Loudeye's CEO, said in a statement.