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Nokia's Ovi Music Unlimited closing in the UK, but your music is safe

The unlimited music service formerly known as Comes With Music is being shut down in 27 countries, including Britain, although the Ovi Music Store remains open for business.

Nokia's Ovi Music Unlimited service -- which launched in 2008 here in the UK as Comes With Music -- is to shut down in all but six countries. Nope, the UK isn't one of them: it's going.

The news originally broke on E's Phone Blog, which spied an announcement about the Finnish version of the service. Nokia has now said in a statement that in 27 of the 33 countries where OMU has been launched, including Britain, "we plan to cease producing Ovi Music Unlimited-edition devices at the end of the year".

What does this mean if you're one of its users in the UK? Here's the official word from Nokia:

"There will be no disruption to the service for our existing customers in these markets or anyone who in the future purchases an Ovi Music Unlimited-edition device from stores while stocks last -- they can continue to enjoy unlimited downloads for the duration of their original Ovi Music Unlimited subscription and keep those tracks forever."

Nokia's DRM-free Ovi Music Store is not affected by the changes, so it's business as usual if you want to buy songs and albums on a Nokia handset.

The kneejerk reaction would be to say Comes With Music has been a massive flop. It certainly never took off in the UK, despite us Brits being first to get the service.

The truth is a little more complex, however. The service has been much more popular in places such as Brazil, China and Indonesia -- countries that don't have as many alternative ways to get digital music, like iTunes or Spotify.

It's no surprise that those three countries will still be getting Ovi Music Unlimited phones, along with India, Turkey and South Africa.

As for the UK, there are still a number of ways to get legal 'unlimited' music on your smart phone, including apps such as Spotify and we7, not to mention YouTube.

Meanwhile, Nokia says, "We are currently working with our partners to deliver new, innovative music services as part of the Ovi experience during 2011." We can't wait! How about you?