Mon, Sep 10th 2007 11:09pm
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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