The 'Ringle,' Or What Passes For Innovation In The Recording Industry

from the something-else-you-won't-want dept

It's no secret that the record labels face a chronic inability to innovate in their business models, choosing instead to continually repackage content and seek ways to force people to buy stuff they don't want in order to get the things they do want. It's this sort of thinking which has brought about the "ringle": a combination of a single and ringtone, and apparently Sony BMG and Universal Music's latest strategy masterstroke. Buyers would get a CD with the full-length track, a B-side or two, and a ringtone for $6-7 -- which doesn't really compare favorably to a 99-cent download and a few bucks for a ringtone (or a download and free homemade ringtone). Is there any real benefit for the consumer here? It's hard to see any, but that's not really surprising. It seems more like an attempt by the record labels to try and deter people from buying single-track downloads, since they don't like the low price and the way they've blown up the album sales model -- which itself is another variation of the "buy stuff you don't want to get the stuff you do" model. It's unlikely that many consumers will fall for it, especially since the CD single is pretty much a dead format. It's probably also worth pointing out that just like the labels try to recycle content, they recycle their innovative ideas as well, since it would appear that Universal tried pretty much the exact same thing in 2004, just calling it the Pocket CD instead of the ringle.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Dom, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 12:15am

    It's sad

    It really does make me sad, but the fact that these sorts of things do actually sell means there are people who are out there buying them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Trav W, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 4:22pm

      It still works for the music company

      Even though people are still able to get the cd's for free by downloads through the web that doesn't hinder the busines THAT much. Because even though the music company is not getting as much sales when it comes to the CD's they are still getting TONS of money when it comes to when the band goes on a tour. The amount of money from a tour more then makes up for any loss the music business is having making the CD's. And if that isn't enough to make them stop whining maybe if they deflate the price of the CD which only costs cents to make maybe they could get a better grasp on the issue.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    zcat, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 12:23am

    There's a market for just about anything..

    FENGHUA, CHINA—Chen Hsien, an employee of Fenghua Ningbo Plastic Works Ltd., a plastics factory that manufactures lightweight household items for Western markets, expressed his disbelief Monday over the "sheer amount of shit Americans will buy."

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/31049

    "the only thing more depressing than making plastic shit for Americans is destroying the plastic shit they send back."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      nunya_bidness, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 7:06am

      Re: There's a market for just about anything..

      It is even more amazing what poor conditions and low pay the people of China will put up with to make that shit.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    GoblinJuice, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 1:07am

    I'm amazed people actually buy ringtones.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Paul, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 1:44am

    Why solid media anyway?

    Soon solid media will not be relevant. With media centres in house and portable/mobile devices now supporting MP3/WMA media the music CD/DVD is becoming irrelevant.

    My son for example buys and downloads a non-DDRM track to his PC. That is backed up to our media centre. He copies it to his phone which doubles as a personal MP3 player. He drops a copy on a USB stick so he can play it on his car head unit. He can also take the USB stick to his friends houses to play there if he wishes. Where does he have use for an old fashioned, damage vulnerable, CD?

    The recording industry is a dinosaur in the dying throes still clinging to the last gasp. Artists are discovering they can "go it alone". The end is neigh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    kevin smith, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 2:50am

    One solid media at least...

    ...the humble LP. Best sound quality, cheap on eBay, and because you have to take it off the shelf and set it up to play, you are forced to sit and listen - not like skipping through 30 seconds of the best bits of an MP3. And searching through an LP collection is a whole world away from scrolling through cover art thumbnails.

    Of course they are 'somewhat' less portable, and I agree with Paul that the convenience of MP3 beats CDs hands-down, for the reasons given. www.boomkat.com has a fantastic DRM-free download range, btw.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Grandfather Time, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 3:23am

    one word....

    SUCKERS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    David Canton, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 4:24am

    Ringle - a possible alternative

    If the music industry wants us to buy multiple tracks instead of single songs, the answer seems obvious. Instead of trying to force us, why don't they incent us? Charge 99 cents for one track, and let us buy related tracks, ringtones, whatever, for a 50% discount so long as we buy them at the same time, or within 10 days.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Wolfger, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 5:02am

      Re: Ringle - a possible alternative

      David, that kind of smart, innovative thinking has absolutely no place in the recording industry.

      ...another alternative would be to actually produce multiple tracks worth buying. But this "pay more to not actually get anything extra that you actually want" kind of scheme is the type of stupidity the RIAA thrives on, because there really is a sucker born every minute.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Daniel34, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 5:12am

    iTunes and ringtones

    iTunes wants a share of the pie too: they're now offering ringtone downloads that are pricier than an actual song download.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Dan, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 6:03am

      Re: iTunes and ringtones

      And they have been making it so a free tool that does the same thing no longer works (an action which the EFF is not too happy about)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Mystified Mind, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 6:04am

      Re: iTunes and ringtones

      It amazes me. People have great potential, but waste it. Instead of learning to do things they seem to just go out and rack up huge credit debts buying ringtones and stuff they don't really need. If they would learn to use their empty little heads they could make their own ringtones. Big business will get richer and richer until Americans (and others) view going to school and learning as an opportunity and not as punishment. Paying more for a ringtone than a full track? IDIOTS!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 6:30am

        Re: Re: iTunes and ringtones

        I agree with fully. And it would seem that cell phone providers like Verizon (not the manufacturers, they don't care) agree as well. Which is why lots of them will lock cell phones down that you users cannot upload their own ringtones onto them.


        Any cell phone user can learn to use a free program (like Audacity) to make their own ringtones but not every Tom, Dick, and Jane can unlock a locked down phone's ability to let the user upload custom ringtones.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    John, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 6:06am

    Ringle just sounds...gay.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 6:24am

    $6 for a single, maybe two b-sides (which ususally translates into "leftovers or undesireable rubbish"), and a ringtone that you have no control over what section of the song is used in said ringtone.

    Or


    Buy a non-DRM track for $1-$2, have the choice of buying those two b-sides for same price if I want (I'll admit that not all b-sides are not rubbish), and then taking either the track or one of those b-sides and editing it to just the section I want and make a ringtone out of it.


    I'm sorry but the recording studios is going to have a tough time convincing of option A. So I suppose that is why they are "lobbying" (whats the difference between lobbying and bribing anyway?) to Congress to have their customs laws put on the books and funding it off the backs of the computer illiterate, children, and people that don't even own pcs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 9:30am

    Every time you talk about music you get these cranks yakking about the superiority of vinyl. Maybe dust, scratches, and worn down grooves sound good to you. If so, enjoy your delusion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      your mother, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 9:44am

      Re:

      maybe if you took care of your shit you wouldn't have dust, scratches, etc... If you don't like vinyl, fine, go away.
      Save your bullshit comments for the crowd of your loser friends that agree with you, you fucking jerk off.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 10:27am

        Re: Re:

        Great here goes the, "I'm embracing something that is retro so I therefore I'm better than you." comment I was expecting.

        Goodness if you like vinyl then why don't you go marry it and while you're at it save your bullshit comments for your circle of retroholics so you'll have to something to high five each other about the next time you see them.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 11:17am

        Re: Re:

        By "etc..." you couldn't mean "worn down grooves" because theres no way getting around the fact that the act of playing your vinyl destroys it, specifically in the higher frequencies which depending on your level of religious faith in ultrasonic overtones may or may not be the only substantive acoustic advantage to vinyl

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2007 @ 1:20pm

    What would you expect from a nation which embraced and spent millions on "Pet Rocks"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This