Nokia calling: The Finnish mobile phone company has signed up David Bowie to promote its new service
It hopes to challenge Apple's dominance of the online market by making it easy for people to download music to their phone.
Nokia has also signed up 40 key record stores around the world to recommend music. "We've recruited the most knowledgeable people, from the best record shops around the world, whose day jobs are to listen to thousands of tracks every week and recommend the best," said David Robertson of Nokia. "It's like an online store of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity 40 times over."
Each song from Nokia's site, which will include rare and difficult-to-find tracks, will cost 10p more than songs from Apple. However, the company hopes the calibre-of the record stores and David Bowie will persuade consumers to pay more.
Experts say Nokia, despite having sold more than 80 million mobile phones with music-playing capacity, could struggle against Apple and its iPod. The company has more than 80 per cent of the UK download market.
"Nokia has a really tough battle on its hands," said James Beechinor-Collins, the editor of gadget magazine T3. "Online music is really controlled by Apple, and they have a bigger range of music, and are cheaper.
"But the Nokia service is offering something different-for the more discerning listener". Music fans can sign up to musicrecommenders.com for free and receive personalised recommendations every month.
"I think that services like iTunes are t he supermarket of the online world, with lots of content but no guidance for consumers," said Simon Singleton of Pure Groove Records in London, one of the stores taking part.
"What this offers is hand selected music that is the best in its genre. For instance, we will be picking tracks from up and coming bands in the British indie and dance scene that aren't even available on iTunes."