March 24, 2005

Ringtones and Albums

The new CD single "Baby" from rapper Fabolous allows UK consumers to choose which part of the song they want to use as a mobile phone ringtone, a feature that Warner Music said on Thursday was a first for the industry.

Until now, the 30-second ringtone clips packaged with singles have been pre-determined by record companies.

The Fabolous single from Warner's Atlantic Records, which includes built-in software that lets listeners isolate any part of the song and load it onto their phones, retails for 3.99 pounds ($7.51), the same price as other CD singles.

"It's the next step for music lovers," said Crispin Futrille, whose company Bounce supplied Warner with the technology. "Ultimately the idea is to get this included on all CDs."

Record companies are seeking new ways to capitalize on the desire among consumers to use their favorite songs as ringtones as the industry reshapes itself amid a fight against piracy and illegal downloading.

Some analyst estimates have put the global ringtone market at more than $3 billion. Industry trade magazine "Billboard" last year even launched a weekly ringtone chart of top sellers.

Warner Music, smallest of the four major music companies, declined to comment on prospects for the ringtone technology, citing its announcement earlier this month that it would sell shares to the public and the related prohibitions on discussing forward-looking plans.


Posted by Craig at March 24, 2005 07:52 PM