Mobile entertainment moving swiftly:
- Zingy, a provider of ringtones and other mobile entertainment products, said it reached a distribution deal with Microsoft Corp.’s MSFT.O MSN service.
Under the agreement, Zingy’s ringtones, screen logos, group graphics, voice messaging, voice greetings and other mobile entertainment products will be accessible through MSN, via a co-branded site at msn.zingy.com.
New York-based Zingy said it had more than 1.5 million registered users and that its content reflected material from popular artists like Eminem, the Rolling Stones and Michelle Branch. [from Reuters]
In other ring-tone news:
- Sony did not disclose terms for its purchase of wireless company Run Tones, but said it had created a business unit to oversee its wireless music efforts.
….Moviso LLC, a third ring-tone provider and a unit of Vivendi Universal said on Wednesday it would begin to sell ring-tones at retail stores like 7-Eleven and Wherehouse Music through phone cards.
….The fee for a ring-tone, which is usually ordered and downloaded from a Web site, is generally added to an existing cellphone bill, making payment easier than the subscriptions record companies have tried to sell for Internet music initiatives, analysts said.
“I think wireless will be huge. It’s the holy grail,” said Jay Samit, senior vice president at EMI Recorded Music, a unit of EMI group Plc .
Industry researchers peg ring-tones as a $1.5 billion market in Europe, and forecast it to expand rapidly.
More than 1.5 million ringtones are purchased on the Web each month in North America, with the youth market driving much of te demand, said Hal Bringman, a spokesman for Zingy.
“MSN will undoubtedly contribute significantly to both the wireless entertainment market and the phenomenon of mobile culture,” said said Fabrice Grinda, founder and chief executive officer of New York-based Zingy.
Music licensing organizations like Broadcast Music Inc. have been working with songwriters, music publishers and wireless providers to simplify the process of clearing rights for ring-tone usage.
BMI recently made its first royalty distribution from ring-tones in the U.S. and will continue to pay such royalties out on a quarterly basis, the company said. [Reuters]