The move marks the first distribution agreement between a major music distributor and an Internet-based voice service, but its hardly surprisingly given that the majority of digital music revenues stem from sales of ringtones to mobile phone users. As independent Skype-enabled handsets come to market (typically accessing Skype via Wi-Fi networks), Warner Music Groups is clearly betting that some of Skype’s 74 million worldwide users will want to pimp out their Skype telephony experience in the same ways users customize their mobile phones.
Ringtone selections will feature Warner Music Group artists including Madonna, Green Day, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and D4L, with Madonna set to be the first exclusive “Featured Artist” at the Skype online retail store. The Featured Artist section will spotlight content from a particular artist and provide a direct link to an artist-branded page where the ringtones can be purchased.
“We are excited that more than 70 million Skype users around the world will now have the ability to enjoy content from Warner Music Group artists. Furthermore, this agreement exemplifies our commitment to finding new ways our artists’ music can be experienced across emerging platforms and distribution channels,” said Alex Zubillaga, WMGs’ Executive VP of Digital Strategy and Business Development.
No details of pricing or availability have been released. Ringtones currently available via the Skype online retail store are typically priced at