Followup: How To Screw It Up [7:02 am]
In recent years, cell-phone carriers have been gleefully astonished by the popularity of ringtones. These electronic snippets of sound have sparked a lucrative, multibillion-a-year trend, as people — mostly younger people — fork over $3 or more to get personalized rings on their cell phones. So you can’t blame carriers for taking what seems like a bigger, even more lucrative step: Selling real songs, rather than digitally copied bits of them. As Dennis Strigl, CEO of Verizon Wireless, told BusinessWeek, “We have a tremendous opportunity to make a big impact in music.”
[...] Since carriers are trying to define their services by the thing they’re uniquely positioned to do — deliver songs over the air — they’ll have a hard time delivering to varied devices. That much is clear from what BusinessWeek Online has learned about the initial services in the works from big U.S. carriers. Songs will likely cost $2 or more — twice the price on iTunes — and you’ll probably be able to hear them only on your phone.
Another problem: “If you listen to music on your cell phone for a few hours on the way to work and find that the battery is dead when you get there, that’s not a good experience,” says Jonathan Sasse, president of iRiver, a leading maker of MP3 music players.
[...] “From the consumer’s point of view, it would be a great idea to have a phone with iTunes capability,” says former Wall Street analyst Phil Leigh, who now runs the Web site Inside Digital Media. “But the carriers don’t really care — because they just want to make some revenue. I think it’s unfortunate that they’re taking such a narrow point of view.”