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Finding the marriage of mobile and music: Record labels, wireless providers need to rethink their positions in the market

My e-mail inbox is teeming with pitches offering self-serving "predictions" for 2009 that read more like best-case scenarios for those hoping to cash in on mobile. But here's a forecast of my own: 2009 will be the year record labels and carriers finally wise...

Verizon Wireless adds social apps to video, ringback tones

SAN FRANCISCO -- Verizon Wireless stoked the white-hot social-networking fire, launching three offerings that allow subscribers to share content and stay in contact with their friends.The carrier yesterday unveiled SocialLife, a $1.50-a-month application that connects users to a host of sites including MySpace, FaithBase,...

Executive Interview: Sean Rosenberg

Five years after 50 Cent's "In Da Club" helped launch the multibillion-dollar ringtone phenomenon - and as CD sales continue to plummet - the music industry continues to look for its second hit in mobile. We talked to Sean Rosenberg, director of mobile marketing...

RINGING IN SUCCESS: Ringback tone market continues expansion, ringback ads on deck

As ringtone revenues descend and full-track mobile music services spin their tires, ringback tones are quietly gaining steam. But they may not be quiet much longer.Ringbacks-audio content that a caller hears instead of a traditional ring before the person being called answers the phone-first...

Comverse, 9 Squared ring up ringbacks

Comverse Inc. said it is teaming with Jamba to power an off-deck ringback tone service for T-Mobile Germany.The carrier will employ Comverse's Fun Broker, an off-deck service that allows content providers to sell ringback tones directly through their portals. The move allows T-Mobile to...

VZW snaps back at Marley family, reggae ringtones restored

Verizon Wireless put its Bob Marley content back online after a spokesman for the late reggae star's estate blasted the carrier publicly.Marley's family last month said it would sue the carrier and Universal Music Group for using Marley's likeness and name without permission. The...

EXTREMELY PERSONAL: Ringbacks, caller tags push personalization to new levels, garner attention from startups

Personalization refers to the way consumers use mobile content as kind of a bumper sticker, telling others who they are and what they think. It won't be long, though, before users will be placing those bumper stickers on your phone-not theirs.Ringback tones were the...

Mobile Content Rating: Where We Are and Where We’re Going

Editor's Note: Welcome to Reality Check, a feature for RCR Wireless News' new weekly e-mail service, Mobile Content and Culture. We've gathered a group of visionaries and veterans in the mobile content industry to give their insights into the marketplace. In the coming weeks...

BMI says ringtone market to tone down

The U.S. ringtone market will dip 8 percent this year as the novelty fades and users learn to create their own mobile music clips, according to Broadcast Music Inc.BMI predicted that ringtones will generate $550 million in retail sales in 2007, down $50 million...

Small carriers in the news at CTIA

ORLANDO, Fla.-What would a CTIA Wireless event be without lots of carrier news. Sure, the big operators typically garner the limelight, but smaller players were also in the house and making news of their own.Virgin Mobile USAVirgin Mobile USA L.L.C. said it plans to...

Etc.

Bring on the cast from Foster's Home for Imaginary FriendsCartoon Network New Media announced the development of CallToons, a mobile application that allows cellphone users to select their favorite Cartoon Network or Adult Swim character to essentially replace the general theme of their device.CallToons,...

Cartoon Network: CallToons app to be ‘all-encompassing entertainment platform’

Cartoon Network New Media fans have another reason to smile this Valentine's Day. The network has announced the development of CallToons, a new mobile application that allows cellphone users to select their favorite Cartoon Network or Adult Swim character to essentially replace the general...

Alltel launches ringback tones

Alltel Corp. wireless customers who just can't get enough of personalizing their wireless phones now have a new option: ringback tones. The carrier introduced a ringback tone service, and will charge $1 per month for the offering. The fee includes one complimentary ringback tone;...

Ringback tones rising

Ringback tones continue to gain traction even as the U.S. ringtone market plateaus, according to new figures from M:Metrics.The market research firm found that the popularity of ringback tones-music clips that a caller hears instead of a traditional ring before the person being called...

RealNetworks ponies up $350M for WiderThan

RealNetworks Inc. is buying itself a bigger space on the wireless entertainment playground with a $350 million acquisition of South Korean-based developer WiderThan Co. Ltd. The Seattle-based digital media company said it will spend $17.05 per share to acquire WiderThan, which provides ringback tones,...

RealNetworks drops $350M for WiderThan

RealNetworks Inc. is buying itself a bigger space on the wireless entertainment playground with a $350 million acquisition of South Korean-based developer WiderThan Co. Ltd. The Seattle-based digital media company said it will spend $17.05 per share to acquire WiderThan, which provides ringback tones,...

Background tones try to be heard above the din: U.S. buys ringback tones more than games

Just when you thought mobile music personalization applications couldn't get any more disruptive, along come background tones. The latest-but surely not last-step in the evolution of such offerings, background tones play during entire conversations between mobile users. Subscribers can choose to assign songs for...

Universal dives deeper into wireless as Congress wrestles with DRM issues

WASHINGTON-Universal Studios is the latest mainstream media giant to go wireless in a big way, establishing a division dedicated to mobile content. Universal, which already has more than 60 licensing deals worldwide with mobile entertainment publishers, announced plans to launch 30 games as well...

MTV audience worships at wireless altar

LAS VEGAS—Listen to Van Toffler for a few minutes and you’ll begin to wonder if the M in MTV stands for mobile. "We’re really moving into the wireless space, and our audience is clearly our master," said MTV Networks’ president, who is set to...

Women slightly more likely to download ringtones, says study

SAN FRANCISCO-Men and women alike use ringtones, but there are big differences between the sexes when it comes to other mobile services.A new study from M:Metrics finds females are significantly less likely to use mobile data services compared with men, but they are about...

Bluegrass Cellular employs InterOp for ringback services

FORT MYERS, Fla.-Kentucky-based regional carrier Bluegrass Cellular Inc. has tapped InterOp Technologies Inc. to provide ringback services, the companies said Thursday.InterOp, which powers mobile data services for Tier 2 and 3 operators, will deliver its library of ringbacks, including real tones, sports anthems and...

Verizon Wireless completes nationwide ringback rollout

Verizon Wireless completed its nationwide rollout of ringback tones, launching service Thursday for users in Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico, the carrier said Friday.U.S. carriers have been scrambling to deploy ringback tones, which allow a caller to hear music instead of a traditional ring...

Verizon expands ringbacks to New England

WOBURN, Mass.-Verizon Wireless continued to expand its ringback service, making the application available to users in New England. With the new service, subscribers in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont can choose clips from more than 2,400 songs from Sony BMG...

Smaller carriers look to ringbacks, local content to compete

With the overwhelming array of wireless content and applications on the market, even the nation's biggest carriers are struggling with what to offer and how to present it to the consumer. It may be no surprise, then, that smaller carriers are working overtime to...

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