I Know… Let's Make A Shorter Song Snippet And Charge More For It!

from the how-they-think dept

Want to get a sense of how the recording industry thinks about things these days? We’ve already seen them misinterpret the success of ringtones into believing that people will pay more for mobile music, ignoring the very different way buyers view the different types of music: ringtones are expression, mobile music is entertainment. As such, buyers place very different values on them. However, as greed from both the recording industry and the mobile industry have threatened to derail the ringtone money train, it appears that some are trying to figure out the next big thing. Warner Music is apparently trying to get people to shell out again to put music on their phones, but instead of paying for ringtones, it will be for SMStones — basically taking the same thing as ringtones, giving it a new label and trying to sell it again. Yes, that’s right. A totally separate category to make your phone play a different song when someone sends you a text message instead of when they call you. It is possible to use existing ringtones for this, or songs that you already own via CD or computer download — but Warner is apparently hoping that people will simply pay again for the convenience factor. There’s no word on pricing just yet, but since it’s likely to be an even shorter snippet, we wouldn’t put it past them to try to charge more.

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Comments on “I Know… Let's Make A Shorter Song Snippet And Charge More For It!”

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Anonymous Coward says:

they all forgot high school economy class...

and the biggist thing it teaches you, supply and demand, if the cost is low, people buy it, which makes you more profit, possibly leaving room for the process to repeat. that or their rich parents that founded the company when it did telegraphs paid the board of education for their school district so they wouldnt even have to take it…

nao says:

No Subject Given

i think the worst part is some people will actually pay for it too.

we’re 8 years behind japan and in fact most of europe when it comes to cell phones, in technology and features. my cell phone takes 15 second clips, my japanese girlfriend’s takes as much as her memory card can hold. and they look good too. when do we say we’ve had enough of crappy cell phones and demand the good stuff?

Nate says:


Yeah, Japan is ahead, in Scandinavia you can use your cellphone to pay for stuff in shops, get text messages when you get an electricity bill, and just replying pays it for you. All that jazz.

The reason we’ll never see the jump to the newer phones is because all the big companies have a ‘gentlemans’ agreement not to. Why sell you the newest thing immediately when they can nickel and dime you on the way?

In a warehouse somewhere there’s the next generation – a cell phone, MP3 player, hi-res camera/camcorder, games device, dictaphone, personal organiser, email device, blah blah blah. We just won’t see it for another 10 years because to sell us that one would make redundant all the phones that are being made right now that aren’t as good.

I’m a gadget-lover, but I gave up buying them. Someone else can pay for all these beta versions, I’ll take the finished product thanks!

Matt Sherwood says:

Ringtone Summary

I cannot say enough good things about this initial post.

It is brief, clear, and thorough; it is COMPLETELY acessible to any intelligent reader who is at all familiar with ringtones, and covers everything that said reader needs to know about the issue at hand.

This is an example of the standard for which all people who post initial posts should strive.


UnoJack says:

No Subject Given

WOW!!! Its just as easy (and FREE!!!) to use the voice recorder fuction of your cell phone to record your music and load that as the ringtone for either voice calls or text messages. Has nobody ever thought of this?!?! No, it doesnt have the clarity of a “paid for” ringtone but it works just as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No Subject Given

There is no need to buy ringtones anymore. I can put any mp3 on my phone via bluetooth. Its easier than downloading and i can use any file from my library. I think mostly kids will go for the “playing a song when someone calls you” thing, but i do think it falls under self expression. I feel sorry for the parents that have to pay for it.

Howard (user link) says:

I would have thought....

I would have thought that there were more important things in life. SMStones may or may not appeal to somebody. I certainly would not have any interest in ringtones; most of the time my phone is on vibrate anyway. But if somebody else wants to buy a Ringtone, SMStone, or Whatevertone, I really don’t care. And I really don’t care how much they pay for it, either.

Along the same lines, I take several products, and do some value-added work on them, and advertise them for premium prices. And sell them to the folks who care about that sort of thing. So how about a TechDirt article on how there are people who will pay $900 for a violin when you can get one for $60 on eBay? You can then waste trillions of electrons arguing about whether there is really any difference, when there are only a tiny percentage of people who care. Meanwhile, I’d get lots of free publicity, which would boost my sales…

If you don’t think a ringtone (or SMStone) is worth the money, then don’t buy it! Problem solved. Next?

Violins and Accessories

Another Coward says:

Re: No Subject Given

Well, beside all the rhetoric and ‘intellectual’ banter, my phone lets you assign tones to each individual function (ring {cell, home, office} warning, text, etc.); it sort of negates the add-on SMS, but you have to applaud the effort and the $$$ they’ll make off of it. What is the issue that people should REALLY get fired up about? The STUPIDITY of people that buy into it.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

Wow, nice misleading headline there Mike, why don’t you just accuse the record industry of glopbal warming while you’re at it? Fact is, corporation exist to make money, it’s time to grow up and realize that pal!

Hmm. I don’t think it’s that misleading. They’ve done it in the past, haven’t they?

As for your second comment “corporations exist to make money” have I ever denied that? I believe strongly in that. In fact, half the point of this blog is to help companies do a better job of making money. My point is that they’re shooting themselves in the foot long term in search of short term profits. The point is they could do a much BETTER job making money if they took a longer term view.

Is that so hard to understand? Pissing off consumers and repeatedly trying to rip them off isn’t a particularly smart long term strategy. So, yeah, I think I’m “grown up” enough to understand that “making money” doesn’t mean throwing strategy out the window.

haggie says:

No Subject Given

I disagree with the article. Ringtones aren’t able to maintain their price point because they are an expression, their price is maintained because buying ringtones is the easiest way to get a ringtone on your phone. I’ve created a couple of ringtones myself, consider myself to very technical, and it was a pain in the ass. If I didn’t use vibrate mode 95% of the time and really felt I needed to subject my fellow bus riders to “In Da Club”, I would buy the ringtone.

What both the RIAA and cell companies need to recognize is that as more cell phones have media storage, customers will expect to use those media files for ringtones without paying any additional fees. Customers will not pay $1 to download a song to their music-enabled phone and then pay $2 to download the same track as a ringtone. Having music on a cell phone exposes the ridiculous pricing structure of ringtones. Customers may pay $1.25-$1.50 to get a track AND ringtone, but nobody is going to pay $3 per track to have a ringtone enabled download.

The ringtone business is at its pinnacle today. A year or two from now, you’ll simply select one of the hundreds of songs that are already stored on your cell phone whether you paid to download it or loaded it your SD card.

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