In what is seen as a one small but sure step towards a giant initiative to fight the rampant piracy, mobile handset maker Nokia has launched its localised Ovi Music Unlimited services.

The service will offer its consumer free access to the latest high quality digital music downloads and customized playlists.

Typically, this enables users who have Nokia Ovi Music Unlimited-enabled devices to download millions of track free of cost. They can also direct these downloads to their mobile phone or PC (personal computer) from the Ovi Music Store for 12 months. Also, they can keep all their downloaded music forever. The service also offers full metadata and improved search, with ability to search for tracks in different routes.

T. S. Sridhar, Regional General Manager (South), Nokia India, said the digital music had been growing since 2005 and the growth was in the vicinity of around 14 per cent in 2009-2010. Quoting a study, he pointed out how 39 per cent of the youth said they preferred music on the mobile. About 83 per cent of the youth studied, he said, felt music was important part of their life. Asserting that piracy was a biggest challenge, he said 64 per cent of the revenue was hurt by the piracy.

Carnatic vocalist Sudha Ragunathan, who heads South India Music Companies Association, said ``the music industry is on the brink of a disaster, thanks to piracy.’’ Asserting that piracy was akin to virus, she said constructive action was needed to reign in this menace. She lauded the efforts of Nokia in addressing the piracy issue and facilitating legal music downloads.