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.

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Companies: sony, sony bmg, universal music

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Comments on “The 'Ringle,' Or What Passes For Innovation In The Recording Industry”

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Trav W says:

Re: 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.

zcat says:

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.”

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

Paul (profile) says:

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.

kevin smith says:

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. has a fantastic DRM-free download range, btw.

David Canton (user link) says:

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.

Wolfger (profile) says:

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.

Mystified Mind says:

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!

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Sanguine Dream says:

$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.


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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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

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