Sing Along with Your Phone
Desperate for new avenues to generate income, the music industry has jumped
on the concept of licensing songs to none other than "wireless entertainment
portals." Which is a fancy name for a cellular phone company.
Yes, now your phone will not just ring that annoying Beethoven concerto that
Nokia has used to plague movie theaters for the past year. Now, you can have
a cool dramatic moment shattered by just about any song in the world, from
Purple Haze to Purple Rain.
It's made possible by a company called Zingy. This aggressive new
monopoly-in-the-making has been gobbling up all the "cell phone rights" to
pop tunes that it can.
Commerce is as commerce does, but how will artists feel about this new
"venue?" Well, it doesn't matter because they will have absolutely no say
about it. Publishers, BMI and ASCAP are eagerly looking forward to the
revenue that will be generated each time a phone rings with one of their
songs. This is a much needed shot in the arm for the music industry since
it's clear that they wont be making much money off CD sales anytime in the
SECAC, the "other" Performing Rights Organization, has not as of this
writing sold out to Zingy.
The industry's attitude to this concept is best summed up by what this
executive said to me last week while gulping down his third Cosmopolitan.
"It's the greatest thing to happen to music since MTV."