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Nokia Mix Radio will be a 'key contributor' to Microsoft, says Nokia exec

Nokia's Mix Radio music service will be an important product to Microsoft, explains Nokia's VP of entertainment in an interview with CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

BARCELONA, Spain -- Nokia's Mix Radio service will be a "key contribution in revitalising the Microsoft brand," after the Microsoft acquisition of Nokia is complete, explained Jyrki Rosenberg, Nokia's vice president of entertainment, in an interview with CNET.

The importance of the music streaming service, Rosenberg said, lies in the lack of financial or technical hurdles to use it. The Mix Radio service is included as standard on all Nokia phones, including the sub $100 Asha range and newly-unveiled Android-powered X phones. There's no required subscription fee and there are no adverts to interrupt your listening. You also don't need to create an account and sign in which, according to Rosenberg is critical in making the service appealing to users who are unfamiliar with smartphones.

The Mix Radio service allows users to listen for free to automatically curated playlists, created by inputting up to three favourite artists. There are no ads, and if you want to be able to skip tracks an unlimited amount of time, a $3.99 (also, oddly, £3.99 and 3.99 Euros) monthly subscription option is available. As it's offering music for free, there's clearly a question mark over how artists are paid, but Rosenberg explained that record labels are given a cut from the sale of the devices themselves. He was unwilling to comment further on exactly how much Nokia has paid out.

Full CNET coverage of the 2014 Mobile World Congress

Rosenberg also remained silent on the future of Nokia Mix Radio within Microsoft, now that the Nokia buyout is going ahead. He did comment however that the "Nokia" branding may well be dropped.

Mix Radio was recently shown running on a concept in-car entertainment system at the Frankfurt auto show. While Rosenberg stated that Nokia is currently in talks with all major car manufacturers to bring the service to vehicles, he wouldn't state either way whether any of these talks had yet been successful. Mix Radio has already found a home in the in-flight entertainment displays on Finn Air planes, however.

While the branding of Mix Radio may well be changed beyond recognition in the Microsoft takeover, the core service seems unlikely to be abandoned. With Nokia -- and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft -- pushing out into developing markets, a free (if restricted) service such as Mix Radio will undoubtedly be an appealing addition to those who are looking to step into the smartphone world, but who do not wish to be tied into a monthly, paid service.