LONDON (Reuters) – The new CD single “Baby” from rapper Fabolous allows UK consumers to choose which part of the song they want to use as a mobile phone ringtone, a feature that Warner Music said on Thursday was a first for the industry. Until now, the 30-second ringtone clips packaged with singles have been pre-determined by record companies. The Fabolous single from Warner’s Atlantic Records, which includes built-in software that lets listeners isolate any part of the song and load it onto their phones, retails for 3.99 pounds ($7.51), the same price as other CD singles. “It’s the next step for music lovers,” said Crispin Futrille, whose company Bounce supplied Warner with the technology. “Ultimately the idea is to get this included on all CDs.”
We know that record companies are trying to figure out new business models. And, we also know that some pundits estimate the size of the global ringtone market at $3 Billion. And, yes, Billboard Magazine does have a list of “top ten” ringtones ranked by sales. But … this new feature blows my mind. Talk about the 80/20 rule! Most people are just marginally tech-savvy enough to download a ringtone – now we’re going to make them music editors? I can’t wait until the numbers are available for this service. Since 99% of professional musical instruments that are sent in for repair arrive with 100% of the factory default parameters still intact – just how big can this marketplace actually be? The mind verily boggles.