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Sing Along with Your Phone
By Moses Avalon
(more articles from this author)
2001-11-14
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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 near future.

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."


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