Nokia has agreed to buy Loudeye for US$60 million (£31 million) in a bid to expand its presence in the music downloading market.

The Finnish company said the deal, which will go through later this year, would make it easier for it to provide music content, as Loudeye has aggregated rights and content from major record labels to offer a catalogue of over 1.6 million tracks.

Nokia sold 15 million music enabled phones in the second quarter, and hopes consumers will gravitate towards multi-function devices rather than stand-alone players such as the iPod.

We want to be able to offer the best fully integrated mobile music experience to our customers”, said Anssi Vanjokia, executive vice president and general manager, multimedia, Nokia.

Loudeye brings a number of key assets to Nokia, including a great team of people, a substantial content catalogue, and a robust service platform that will help us to achieve this objective.”

People should be able to access all the music they want, anywhere, anytime and at a reasonable cost. With this acquisition, we aim to deliver that vision and a comprehensive music experience to Nokia device owners during 2007.”

Loudeye provides B2B digital music platforms and digital media distribution services. Nokia has been working with the company since 2004, when it was announced that Loudeye was developing a wireless music platform for mobile service providers. The firm is headquartered in Seattle and has offices in London and Bristol.