All smartphones include music options, but Nokia has decided to differentiate itself by including a music service that automatically customizes itself to the preferences of each individual user. Nokia MixRadio is powered by The Echo Nest and will make its debut on the Nokia Lumia 800 phone, which runs on Windows Phone 7.5.
Users tell MixRadio about their musical tastes using a small-footprint browser app that analyzes their own existing digital music collection. It then selects tracks and programs personalized stations in a variety of genres, drawing from Nokia’s catalog of over 15 million songs without needing the user’s collection to be stored on the handset. The app learns as it gets used, and its foundation knowledge can be updated any time. Those who want to be more hands-on can also make customized stations based on any of these artists or songs, just as they would with services like Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio (which also uses The Echo Nest), Pandora or Spotify, and they can pause or skip ahead in the stream.
These functionalities are made possible by The Echo Nest’s music intelligence platform. “We’re obsessed with understanding the entire world of music so we can enrich consumers’ lives with a more meaningful listening experience,” said Jim Lucchese, chief executive officer of The Echo Nest. “Nokia’s MixRadio unites our music intelligence platform with a beautiful device, delivering the most personalized global music service the world has ever seen. We are thrilled to be helping Nokia give millions of music fans this intelligent, personalized digital music experience.”
The Nokia Music app comes pre-installed on the device and includes MixRadio along with about 100 professionally programmed stations that can be streamed on demand. For listening in airplane mode or where the signal is feeble, the phone caches enough of any playback to last for a 15-hour playback session.
The app also includes an MP3 store, location-aware live concert recommendations and other music-related material. Users can purchase the song that’s playing at any given moment, or they can browse through the catalog to purchase and download anything there.
Nokia has a lot riding on the Lumia with MixRadio, which is set to be available in almost 50 countries by the end of 2012, as it competes against smartphones from Apple and from current market leader Samsung.
The company therefore is holding a splashy launch on Nov. 28, with electronic musician deadmau5 (pictured) performing live from the top of London’s Millbank Tower in a multimedia spectacular involving 400-foot-wide butterflies and other light show elements. The event should be visible for several miles along both sides of the River Thames and will be webcast for everyone else.
“The launch of the Nokia Lumia 800 really signals a new dawn for the company, and we wanted to celebrate this with a truly innovative and spectacular event to match this stunning phone. The location will allow thousands of people to come and experience something truly amazing, and different to anything they have seen before,” said John Nichols, head of Marketing for Nokia U.K.