Sony Says Single Plus Ringtone Equals Ringle

Posted on September 17, 2007

Reuters reports that the music industry plans to offer a new format called a ringle which will contain three songs (a hit, a remix and another track) plus a ringtone.
Each ringle is expected to contain three songs -- one hit and maybe one remix and an older track -- and one ringtone, on a CD with a slip-sleeve cover. The idea is that if consumers in the digital age can download any tracks they want individually, why not let them buy singles in the store as well? It also enables stores to get involved in the ringtone phenomenon.

Sony BMG Music Entertainment, which came up with the ringle idea, and Universal Music Group are going to be the first out of the box with ringles. The former will unleash 50 titles during October and November, while UMG will have anywhere from 10 to 20 titles ready. The Recording Industry Association of America has approved the "ringle" name, and there is an industrywide logo to help brand it. But except for Sony, each major still needs to cut a deal with a digital aggregator to allow consumers to redeem the ringtone.

Meanwhile, label profit margins for the format are considered slim. The majors are gambling that the ringle can instill in consumers the mind-set to connect to the Internet via the CD.
Reuters says big retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Amazon will be carrying ringles. They will cost either $5.98 or $6.98 which is far more expensive than it costs to download a single on iTunes. Orbitcast says the music industry "goes mad." Engadget calls it a "hairbrained scheme." Compiler calls the ringle the "Edsel of the recording industry." You get the idea. There isn't a lot of respect out there for the ringle.

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