Recording Industry's Next Trick? Killing Ringtone Sales

from the they-can-kill-just-about-any-promising-business dept

It's like watching a bad movie over and over again, each time a somewhat promising market starts to open up for the recording industry, they all do their best to kill it. Earlier today we saw how they're looking to kill the promising market for immediate live recordings of concerts, but now it looks like they may be killing off ringtones. For the last year or so, ringtones have been the surprising revenue generator for both mobile phone carriers and the recording industry, and despite plenty of warning and predictions that this market couldn't last, the recording industry isn't known for their ability to understand how technology changes will impact their business over time. Already we've seen applications like Xingtone take the industry by surprise by daring to let users make ringtones out of music they've legally purchased - and it won't be long until ringtones are easily downloadable directly to mobile phones via a Napster-like application (if it doesn't exist already). Still, the music industry sees money, and are increasing the royalty rates they charge for ringtones, making them more expensive. In fact, ringtones that are mere snippets of songs cost much more than actually downloading the full song from any of the various download music stores out there. Of course, all this will really do is drive more people to investigate alternatives like Xingtone, and make the "market" for selling ringtones disappear quite quickly. This was going to happen eventually no matter what, so maybe, by raising prices, the industry is just speeding up the process.
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  1. identicon
    Nonesuch, 26 May 2004 @ 8:01am

    Fair use?

    Would making your own ringtone (using Xingtone, etc) which is simply a 9 second snippet of a popular song, fall under fair use?

    I understand that commercial sales of ringtones would not qualify. However, it appears that creating your own ringtones for your own use does:

    • Transformative.
    • A subset of the copyrighted work.
    • Limited effect on the potential market.

    Personally, I don't have any problem with the copyright holders killing off the market for purchased (or in the case of Sprint, leased) ringtones.

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