Are Cell-Phone Ring Tones Cannibalizing Music Royalties? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Are Cell-Phone Ring Tones Cannibalizing Music Royalties?

As if the music industry doesn't already have its share of digital headaches, it may have a new source of potential copyright infringement to contend with: cell-phone ring tones. A British Internet monitoring startup calls the downloading of musical ring tones "another Napster in the making" and says the industry may be losing more than $1 million a day in related royalties.

Envisional Ltd., which sells software and services for monitoring intellectual-property rights violations online, discovered the potential infringement while doing an MP3-related research project for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Co-founder and chief operating officer Ben Coppin says the company decided to pursue the ring-tone research on its own. By configuring its software to search for indicators that a site offers ring-tone downloads and then identify the related files, Coppin says the company found hundreds of sites that each are enabling hundreds of thousands of downloads of musical ring tones daily.

Coppin says record labels are entitled to 7.5 cents for each download of a ring tone that uses copyrighted material, but industry sources couldn't confirm that figure. Envisional arrived at its estimate of potential losses based on analyst research indicating that very few of the sites in question are paying the required royalties. Coppin says he considers his firm's estimate to be "rough," but adds that "our feeling is that it's fairly conservative." He says Envisional has had discussions with multiple, well-known music labels about taking the research further.

Webnoize Inc. analyst Ric Dube says customized ring tones are becoming big business, particularly in Asia and other regions where cell phone usage is pervasive enough that users are looking for ways to distinguish their cell phones' rings from others. The downloading of copyrighted ring tones, Dube says, could present a revenue opportunity for the labels.

Meanwhile, Gartner analyst P.J. McNealy says concerns surrounding musical ring tones aren't about to take on the magnitude of file sharing, at least not until streaming technologies allow actual recordings--rather than tunes made up of simple tones--to be effectively downloaded for use with cell phones. "I don't see the [Recording Industry Association of America] launching a round of lawsuits," says McNealy. "They have bigger targets right now."

For related stories:The Backstreet Boys Are On Line 2 MP3.com, Qualcomm To Deliver Music To Cell Phones

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
Remote Work Tops SF, NYC for Most High-Paying Job Openings
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/20/2021
Slideshows
Blockchain Gets Real Across Industries
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  7/22/2021
Commentary
Seeking a Competitive Edge vs. Chasing Savings in the Cloud
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/19/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Monitoring Critical Cloud Workloads Report
In this report, our experts will discuss how to advance your ability to monitor critical workloads as they move about the various cloud platforms in your company.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll