Ringles? Really?

According to a story from Reuters, the music industry
doesn’t get it…yet. No, that’s not the headline of the story. It’s the bottom
line of the story.

Photo courtesy of Boy Genius Report.

The record industry announced the birth of the Ringle.* As
the article about this nifty combination of the words ringtones and
singles describes…”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 logic(?) behind this
“new” product? “…if consumers in the
digital age ca
n 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.”
Note: I suspect this is less about the consumer and all
about maintaining the relationship between retail and the music industry.

I have a few very good friends in the record promotion
industry and I very much want them to succeed. But, yikes, I continue to be
concerned for them when I see an idea like this. Don’t get me wrong, packaging
a hit, a remix and, a ringtone is not necessarily a bad idea. Delivering it on
CD is the bad part of the idea.

First, the sale of CD’s has fallen because people can
download songs…for less money. That means not going to the store. Ringtones are
popular for the very same reason, easy to get and cheap.
This package configuration would be great online. How about 3 songs for three bucks and
you get a free ringtone? It should be pointed out that it’s extremely easy to make your own
ringtone from any song. But that’s a topic for another blogger. Suffice it to
say, if I can do it, anyone can.

I don’t believe it’s really a “good deal” to spend
six or seven beans for songs on a piece of plastic that I’m probably going to
rip into my computer or mp3 player anyway…and I’m an “old” guy. I can’t
imagine “those whacky kids” rushing out to buy three songs on CD. Perhaps we should
continue to find ways to make music easier to get, cheaper, and of better sound
quality online. Feel free to keep the ringtone.

*Still listed in Wikipedia as a town in Wisconsin…Marathon County…population 1,408…ringtone not included.