Music Industry Betting on 'Ringle' Format

As the recording industry wakes up from its summer slumber and starts thinking about what will motivate the consumer for the holiday selling season, the major labels are getting ready to launch the "ringle," which combines the mostly defunct single format with ringtones.

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.

News source: Reuters

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45 Comments

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Funny! Looks like wizardB and I were thinking along the same lines. I had not seen wizardB's post prior to posting my comment. Sony! We're on to your shenanigans.

AH! I new way to put a root kit on someone's PC! Maybe it will "phone home" to the RIAA to report the ISP and IP address of people with pirated MP3 files?

Would you like a root kit with that ringle! Don't buy anything Sony or BMG they need a big slap in the cash flow the only thing those morns will understand!!

i agree with you... im generally going to avoid buying sony products from now on if i can ;)

cause like you said the only thing they understand is $$$. lol

And what about phones that don't allow you to directly copy ringtones to the phone (like some Samsung phones?). On those phones, you have to download them from your provider (although it is possible to e-mail them to the phone as well, if they are small enough).

Is this the best they could come up with?? Ringtones... on a CD what a waste of plastic and I'm sure the price is more to buy the CD than to get it from a download, so whats the point.

How about offering DRM-free FLAC songs from an online store instead, just like they are still offering unprotected CD discs that can be ripped as FLAC's?

OK, no? Well, it was worth a try. :-p

Shetland said,
I say some form of hard plastic disc, like a floppy but high capacity.

Perhaps this "disc" would not be too large, but compact of sorts...?

Perhaps you could use a digital encoding scheme to protect the copyright holders? Surely if it's digital you would be able to easily restrict and/or manage the bootleg copies very easily. I think we need some sort of industry association to oversee this, though. You know, so the legal issues can be looked after.

iCarry said,

Perhaps this "disc" would not be too large, but compact of sorts...?

yeh, they could be small and silver and maybe be compatible with those drives everyone has in their pcs and stereos? :cheeky:

Shetland said,
I say some form of hard plastic disc, like a floppy but high capacity.

And maybe this disk could contain grooves cut into the plastic and only need to rotate at about 45 RPM while a sharp diamond sensor moves inside the groove and picks up the sound and...

Er, this sounds very familiar for some reason...

Meanwhile, label profit margins for the format are considered slim.

I don't understand. They already "own" the music in their catalogue and distribution of the product isn't expensive on CD's these days. Pence per disk if that. Assuming they make steady sales on it, how can't it be anything other than easy profit for them?

I have to say, watching the music industry fumble around with digital offerings long after the revolution has taken hold is hilarious.. its just tragic they have so much power to screw us consumers around, whilst trying to make up for their lack of foresight and unwillingness to embrace the technology when it came along. Greedy SOB's.

how about them making a small usb keydisk(with artist logo, etc on them) with a mp3( and ringtone in various formats) and include the music video, wallpapers etc instead?? its 2007 ffs.

USB keys are far more expensive than CDs, and you can re-use them. Therefore, the RIAA considers USB Keys to be tools of the pirates.

It costs pennies per disk for a major label to crank out a stack of CDs. The real cost is in the art, packaging, markup, fees, licensing, retail, and the (relitively) tiny percentage the actual artist gets.

Assuming a CD costs $15.99, then it breaks down like this:

$0.17 Musicians' unions
$0.80 Packaging/manufacturing
$0.82 Publishing royalties
$0.80 Retail profit
$0.90 Distribution
$1.60 Artists' royalties
$1.70 Label profit
$2.40 Marketing/promotion
$2.91 Label overhead
$3.89 Retail overhead

So, the artist grosses a $1.60, and the RIAA grosses $9.56, while the store grosses $4.69
If the RIAA owns the store, they make even more (hey, that rhymes!)
Oh, and the union gets seventeen cents.

You? Oh, you just get screwed.

Don't forget that the studios OWN/CONTROL ClearChannel which acts as the middle man for the advertising AND the creation of the playlists used by all of these corporate radio stations. So, in effect, the studios got around the payola scandal by creating their own middlemen. Therefore, they're paying themselves that money on your excellent list as well.

Croquant said,
USB keys are far more expensive than CDs, and you can re-use them. Therefore, the RIAA considers USB Keys to be tools of the pirates.

It costs pennies per disk for a major label to crank out a stack of CDs. The real cost is in the art, packaging, markup, fees, licensing, retail, and the (relitively) tiny percentage the actual artist gets.

Assuming a CD costs $15.99, then it breaks down like this:

$0.17 Musicians' unions
$0.80 Packaging/manufacturing
$0.82 Publishing royalties
$0.80 Retail profit
$0.90 Distribution
$1.60 Artists' royalties
$1.70 Label profit
$2.40 Marketing/promotion
$2.91 Label overhead
$3.89 Retail overhead

So, the artist grosses a $1.60, and the RIAA grosses $9.56, while the store grosses $4.69
If the RIAA owns the store, they make even more (hey, that rhymes!)
Oh, and the union gets seventeen cents.

You? Oh, you just get screwed.

all the more reason to keep doing what we doing if you catch my drift ;)

cause screw supporting RIAA/MPAA as there all greedy/corrupted etc etc.

Can we not get away from removable, physical media which is garbage when there's a little scratch on it? This is 2007.

Why dont' they just put these things on floppy disks?

Indeed this is 2007.

Floppy disks are 80's/90's and susceptible to magnetic fields, and also scratches to the media surface. :sleeping:

Actually, I was being sarcastic. We have some stupid ringtone, and a phone capable of browsing the Internet. The easiest method to get that ringtone on the cell phone is already happening at the moment. You browse to the carrier's website and download it. Why must they bundle it with some stupid remix and charge more than they should. A song costs $1.00 on iTunes. Charge $.25 for the 30 second ringtone and let the kiddies rack up their bills buying every single ringtone so that they can assign a different ringtone to every friend they have in their phonebook. Make it attractive enough that a carrier would be stupid not to want to sell it. Nice 'n easy.

watch this flop big time, I love it when the marketing guys comes up with this crap.... LOL

How about making cds much much cheaper like the public want.... WOW what a concept.

Stup0t said,
watch this flop big time, I love it when the marketing guys comes up with this crap.... LOL

How about making cds much much cheaper like the public want.... WOW what a concept. :)


Once it flops, they'll have a new angle to go after in their "piracy" campaign, they'll just blame "pirates" for making the ring tones available for free on the itntraweb.

z0phi3l said,


Once it flops, they'll have a new angle to go after in their "piracy" campaign, they'll just blame "pirates" for making the ring tones available for free on the itntraweb.

LOL ... but the funny thing is, is that i could actually see that happening.

both of you guys got good points.

Meh, I just turned on my stereo and recorded a song from my CD to my phone. It was something from Samurai Champloo, so it's relatively soft on the sound, but just loud enough for me to hear.

You mean you all still carry mobile phones?? :eek:

I only have mine turned on when I'm at home, I very rarely carry it with me nowadays and even then its in silent, if someone wants me, they can call me on the office phone

If I can buy and download the single, and transfer it to my phone, why would i need 'ringle'. Also, my phone has now been on silent for 4 and a half months...

I thought singles were already being sold in stores? I'll got for a single in a hardcase, rather than a piece of paper and a ringtone I'll never use.

On the topic of music, there's a boatload of CDs I want, but need to wait until I get more money :P.

Sounds suspiciously like the iTunes "vingle" (video + single). And comes suspiciously soon after the iTunes Store started selling iPhone ringtones!

If one has anything other than some sort of *ring* as a ringtone, one should be shot. The whole music ringtone idea is just stupid and annoying.

Andre said,
If one has anything other than some sort of *ring* as a ringtone, one should be shot. The whole music ringtone idea is just stupid and annoying.

Agreed. That's what vibrate is for, I don't even want to hear other people obnoxious ringtones.

Also... Noteworthy that Sony BMG came up with the idea, and also there's the expectation that the end user will connect to the internet via this "ringle" CD. Who wants to place bets on there being another DRM/tracking/rootkit/spyware payload here??

MioTheGreat said,
But....but...Mine is The Lost Woods theme from Zelda....

It's just so awesome..... :(


That's fine, listen to it all you want, in the privacy of your home. When you're in public, you're forcing everyone in earshot to hear what you dictate. That's just rude. But hey, not like most people have manners or respect for anyone else these days anyway.

I gotta admit, it does make for a bit of comedy when some idiot doesn't turn their phone off in a lecture with 300 other people easily able to hear what embarrasing song he/she has for a ring.

-Spenser

Andre said,
If one has anything other than some sort of *ring* as a ringtone, one should be shot. The whole music ringtone idea is just stupid and annoying.

Ya know, I kinda agree. The thing is, my ringtone is "Uncle ****er" from South Park. People look at me strange when it goes off and I answer the phone "Hey dad". HAHA!