Sprint and Warner hook up for streaming music clip service and new ring-tone features on cell phones:
- Selling ring-tones, or musical jingles that play on cellphones, is giving a little boost to the otherwise gloomy music industry, which is grappling with a protracted slump in CD sales and struggling to establish commercial Web services to stem the black-market boom in online file-swapping.
“We’re making money selling ring tones. Our philosophy is that this is a money-market enterprise from the beginning. We’ve already made more money than we’ve spent in launching these operations, which are not particularly expensive to begin with,” said Michael Nash, senior vice president of Internet strategy and business development for Warner Music, a unit of AOL Time Warner IncAOL.N .
Nash estimated the recording industry will take in about $50 million from ring-tones in 2003, with the business growing rapidly from there.
Warner has sold close to 50,000 ring tones in the past three months. Sales of ringtones in three weeks after launching a deal with AT&T Corp. T.N in October exceeded the number of Web music downloads it has sold in a year-and-a-half.
The latest Sprint/Warner deal lets Sprint customers download ring-tone and animated ring-tone versions of songs. Artists from rock groups such as Devo can announce incoming calls, and clips of new music can be sampled via the wireless streaming music clip subscription service on Sprint PCS Vision phones.
“Are we not men? We are ring-tones.”