It was only a matter of time, but the insatiable greed from both the recording and the mobile industries concerning ringtones had to hit the online music download stores eventually. The first to get into the space will be Napster, who will be selling ringtones for $2 to $3 alongside their regular music downloads. Apparently, no one at Napster thought that putting $3 snippets of songs alongside $1 full versions of the song might make people wonder if they might be overpaying just a bit for those ringtones. If anything, this should just drive more people to use something like Xingtone, which takes songs you own already and turns them into ringtones, giving you a much cheaper way to get a ringtone on a song that you can actually listen to elsewhere. On top of that, of course, the ringtones only work with a few providers, which is bound to cause some confusion. It's also amusing to see Napster point to what they seem to believe is their one competitive advantage: people recognize the Napster name. Of course, that's only because people remember what Napster used to be -- when it wasn't overcharging and burdening every song with cumbersome copy protection. All of this is only going to hasten the process whereby a real file sharing system for ringtones shows up. Rather than building a compelling and reasonable system (you'd think they would have learned by now) they're taking the short term strategy of trying to milk the market dry as quickly as possible.
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