Oil and water. Matter and anti-matter. Sony and Universal. These are apparently combinations that just don’t mix.The brilliant minds at the record labels have come up with a new idea for the holiday season. They’re going to sell “ringles.” Heh. Ringles. I just had to see that name again.
It’s a single combined with a ringtone. Get it? A Ringle. No doubt they selected that name after many hours of heated debate over the name “Singtone.” Maybe they can get Scooby Doo for the ads: “I rearry rove my ringles, Raggy.”If it wasn’t their own doing, I’d feel sorry for the labels right now.
Anyway, here’s the gist of this new offering from the labels’ best and brightest:
“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.”
So I get the same song twice (a remix), a song I probably don’t want, and a ringtone whose length and content have been decided for me — maybe by the same guy who thought up the name “ringle”.
“The idea is that if consumers in the digital age can download any tracks they want individually, why not let them buy singles in the store as well?”
Um, except the song I download is just 99 cents and I don’t have to drive to the retailer to get it, or did that fact elude the labels? More importantly, it’s the one song I wanted; not a remix and not an “older track.” Do they see the difference now? No, of course they don’t. As a label they stopped reading at the part about it costing 99 cents. That’s what’s bothering them.
“Sony BMG Music Entertainment, which came up with the ringle idea, and Universal Music Group are going to be the first out of the box with ringles.”
Yes, Sony’s had so many great ideas about music distribution lately. Their CD rootkit was a big hit. And isn’t ATRAC wonderful? Well, I mean wasn’t it wonderful before they had to kill it? And with Universal on board you just know this can’t really be a good deal for the consumer.
“The former will unleash 50 titles during October and November, while UMG will have anywhere from 10 to 20 titles ready.”
Um, 60 or 70 total songs to choose from initially? Are they serious? Hey guys, Apple is starting with half a million! How can the largest label on the planet in Universal only come up with 10 or 20 titles to start with? Universal is truly pathetic.Further, with iTunes I get the song I want and a ringtone I create myself for $1.98 (unless I already own the song, in which case it’s just 99 cents), so tell me what will the “ringle” cost?
Wait for it…
“Sources suggest the ringle will carry either a $5.98 or $6.98 list price,”
BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! For three to six times the cost of iTunes I get the “bonus” of a questionable remix and an old song I don’t want, but I have to visit a retailer to get it, stand in line, pay tax, and the ringtone is created by someone else. Six or seven bucks is the price of an EP, which typically provides maybe five real songs. This is such a horrible deal for the consumer I can see why Universal jumped all over it.
“If it’s $5.98, ringles will have a 31 percent gross margin, shy of the 35 percent profit margin that CD albums carry nowadays; if it’s $6.98, that would give retail a 42.7 percent gross margin, similar to the profit margin cassette and vinyl albums enjoyed back in the day.”
CDs aren’t selling. Isn’t that what the labels are telling us? Isn’t that what the sales data says? Isn’t that what everybody knows? Yet the morons at Sony and Universal have decided that they’ll make a less desirable package at the same profit margin? Sure, that’s the solution. This absolutely boggles the mind.
Why isn’t everyone who owns stock in these labels calling for the heads of all senior management? At what point will the stock holders speak up?
“On the plus side, big retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Amazon have agreed to support the configuration, although all of them may not be ready to do so at launch date, sources say.”
Yes, it will be hard to find shelf space for maybe 60 CDs not even in jewel boxes. Please. If they’re not ready at the launch date it’s because they know these won’t sell. Does anybody outside of Sony and Universal think these have a prayer? In the words of Scooby: “Rorry, Rony, your ringles won’t rell.”