This whole mobile entertainment thing still isn’t getting that much attention in the U.S., but it will – another reason to rethink the entertainment/communication paradigm. Maybe music will become communication content:
- Zingy, the largest mobile entertainment provider in North America, launches Phonemates, an audio based community that extends chat rooms and message boards to mobile phones. Phonemates, powered by VoiceWeb technologies, utilizes voice as a user interface for navigating, listening, and posting comments, news, music, and more.
“A new community is forming without computers or being tethered to a wall,” says Fabrice Grinda, CEO and Founder of Zingy. “Phonemates creates an audio community on the wireless networks anywhere. Real time and sequenced messaging transform voice into a spontaneous new media and new medium. It provides a voice and a means to connect with thousands of people on the same wavelength.”
Bounce through the listening lounge, get a jump on the latest music and entertainment headlines, catch up with a daily horoscope, keep it fresh in the music chat rooms or tag an opinion on a favorite music genre on the boards, play trivia or other games. Invent a reason to hookup in a private chat with another Phonemate.
The NY Times is down with the craze, or semi-craze as the case may be:
- Though some people find a gimmicky cellphone ring as annoying as an overly loud cellphone conversation, teenagers think of their phones as fashion accessories. And executives in the music industry, stung by declining sales and digital piracy, see dollar signs in the trend.
“This is a great opportunity, and it’s a much easier opportunity than the Internet,” said Jay Samit, a senior vice president at EMI Recorded Music. “It’s easier to buy music than to steal it.”
Music and wireless executives cite figures like $1.5 billion – the predicted total of ring-tone sales in Europe this year, according to Strand Consult, a Danish firm – the way they once tossed around stratospheric projections of dot-com revenue. At industry events in the United States like the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association trade show last month in Las Vegas, the clamor over the ring-tone business, said those who attended, has reached a fever pitch.
“It feels like we rewound to 1995,” said Richard Conlon, vice president of BMI, the music licensing concern, which has been working with recording labels, wireless providers and third-party businesses that sell ring tones to negotiate the complex web of publishing rights. “It’s almost like a do-over.”
Music executives acknowledge they were late to the Internet game. Once they started to pay attention to the new medium and to Napster and other file-sharing services that let consumers trade music, it was too late to throw a lasso around online distribution. So they are determined to keep a tight rein on ring tones.
The questions that plagued proprietors of Web businesses, most notably how to get consumers to pay, are more easily answered in the world of wireless, where the network is closed and the systems for payment are in place.