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Music biz experiments with "ringle" format

updated 04:15 pm EDT, Mon September 10, 2007

Ringle Albums

Sony BMG and Universal Music today fought back against declining sales of physical CDs with the concept of the "ringle." The album would include both the music of a traditional single, such as the main track and as many as two B-sides, as well as a ringtone edition of the song ready to use with a cellphone. Special deals will be in place to grant access to the ringtone when the CD is put into an Internet-connected computer. Prices would still be roughly in line with retail singles at between $6 and $7 each.

Most of the leading music retailers have already agreed to carry the ringle format at or shortly after the official launch, including Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart. Whether or not the format will apply to online downloads is unknown but has not been ruled out.

The change may open the doors for iTunes and other online stores to create album bundles that include ringtones as part of their primary downloads. Apple recently introduced custom ringtones but so far requires that users already own a copy of the song before they can edit and purchase a custom ringtone version of a given track. Ringtone sales have typically been limited to cellular providers' own stores and have largely been omitted from other download outlets, due in part to separate licensing terms and the lack of certainty regarding permissions to use the ringtones with certain carriers. Apple and other stores have recently introduced "vingles" that include music videos or documentaries along with audio tracks.

by MacNN Staff




  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    $4 on iTunes

    Well, even without "bundling", the very same number of songs would have cost $4 on iTunes. ($1 for the single, $2 for the two B-Side track if you choose to get them, and $1 for ringtone). iTune users can potentially get it for $2 without the B-side tracks.

    Thankfully iTunes did not allow a certain group to bundle tv shows. Otherwise it would have been a charge of $15 for 1 hot TV show, 2 B TV shows, and one 5 minute TV clip...

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Not interested. Fair use surely would have to include my being able to extract whatever small portion of a work for personal use as a ringtone. I do not want, nor need, to pay for a ringtone of Universal's choosing. Neither do I want to connect to Universal for "authorization".

    This whole ringtone thing is waaay out of hand.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    you could just edit your own ringtone from an mp3 you already own and load it on your phone

    but i guess there will always be plenty of people who are too frightened or lazy to learn how to do this.

  1. LordJohnWhorfin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No thanks

    Can you say rootkit v 2.0?

  1. darkelf

    Joined: Dec 1969


    dear god,

    dear god, please make the music industry die. amen.

  1. BelugaShark

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RE: dear god,


  1. pascalpp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: dear god,

    don't worry, they're killing themselves.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    let's see...

    espensive and inconvenient - all the makings of a product with lots of customer appeal...

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So amusing...

    For years (decades?), record labels have been trying to spell death to the concept of a single. CD provided perfect excuse. Think about it; it takes almost the same amount of energy/effort/raw materials to press a single record as it does the LP record; however, it used to retail at half the price of a LP.

    Having forced bands to think up 10 + songs, so that they can sell LP, they continued the same concept with the CD. If you were an artist, there was no way you could release a single song; you had to write a full album, if you wanted to sell records.

    ITunes changed the concept of buying music back to the idea of purchasing singles. More than half of all iTunes purchases are single songs. Anybody with half a brain can easily understand why it is so (SJ was the first one to do).

    Now, suddenly, labels are realising there may be something in the concept of a single, after all. However, obviously, they have no clue beyond that. They are approaching the singles concept bass ackwards (a** backwards?), which will ultimately fail again.

    It might take several years or less, but eventually they will get it; Apple and iTunes is their only saviour. Their business will not grow until they finally understand that.

  1. Recto Bold

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So true

    That's right Vasic, although I would say that they aready get it t a degree. They know iTunes is what they need but they hate it. For years they have had this market all to themselves and charged through the nose for music the way they deicded we have to buy it. Now, so geek comes along and crashes the party with his company and his funny little media player. They play ball and make money but they're not making nearly the margin they used to on CDs, so they constantly look to try and go it alone, despite the fact that iTunes is the market leader and shows no sign of falling behind. They're still desperately trying to avoid the inevitable and this is just another utterly hopeless effort. Ringtones - Ugh. Just get with the plan fellas.

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