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Apple pushes for ringbacks, 3G music sales?

updated 06:00 am EDT, Mon May 19, 2008

Apple Ringback Tone Rumor

Apple hopes to make a major push into mobile music in time with the launch of the 3G iPhone, say sources speaking with the New York Times. In addition to expanding the number of songs that qualify as ringtones, the company allegedly hopes to introduce ringback tones that play in place of the typical dial tone. Apple also wants to overcome earlier limits and start selling iTunes songs over cellular networks rather than limiting access to Wi-Fi connections, according to cited music label officials.

Discussions began just a few weeks ago and may see any additions miss the expected introduction of the 3G iPhone, the sources add, but have Apple determined to make a "big launch" for these services in June.

However, the move may also force Apple to make concessions in music if it hopes to launch the service in time, the report cautions. Music labels in particular are pushing Apple to increase the amount of revenue earned per song past 70 cents for the right to download over cellular networks. These companies may also press Apple to change the rigidity of its pricing and boost pricing for new songs while dropping the prices for legacy titles.

Apple is described as unlikely to bend on per-track pricing on absolute terms but isn't yet known to have made decisions regarding over-the-air prices. Ringbacks may nonetheless be a possibility, as the raw income per download is higher than for normal ringtones.

Universal Music is also reportedly continuing to press Apple to embrace its Total Music concept, which would involve paying a premium for devices in exchange for a subscription that provides unlimited but permanent music downloads over a set period. Apple is not averse to the concept but is reportedly unwilling to lift the price to what music labels would prefer customers pay.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just do not know...

    Universal just seems stuck with subscription music. They are stuck in the past and will die that way.

    And what is this "unlimited but permanent music downloads over a set period." Permanent until the subscription expires??? Universal, give it up.


  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If they were truly permanent and never expired even after the subscription ended, I could go for it and I am a huge subscription skeptic.

    However I bet that is not how it would work, because then I would download a ton of s*** then cancel my subscription. I don't think Universal would be terribly pleased with people doing that. They want the continuous stream of income, that is their dream, rather than the hard work of selling one-off purchases.

  1. neocyberdude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dial tone?

    Maybe I'm missing something, but since when do cell phones have dial tones? I don't have an iPhone, but I've played with them at the Apple Store and don't remember any dial tone...

  1. bfalchuk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ring back

    neocryberdude, it's not the dial tone, it's what ringing someone hears when they call you. I think it's a stupid thing.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I could care less about answer music. My nice has that and it sound really bad when I call. I'd much rather hear a standard "Ring Ring" than someone else's song. Anyway why in the heck is this a "iPhone" function. It's done at the carrier not the phone. I don't see why apple is even involved.

    Way the hack would anyone ever want to pay extra to download music over the cell network rather than WiFi.

    Are they is such a all fired hurry that they can't wait till they either at home or a hot spot?

    Do the music companies really thing people will accept paying extra?

    I guess maybe the "it's all about me" generation might.

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