• Apple's Ringtone Plan a Go or a Rumor?

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    We're bound to hear a lot of crazy rumors and speculation between now and Apple's press conference next week.

    The latest but maybe not-so-crazy-buzz is that Apple has "obtained the rights to offer ready-made ringtones for the iPhone," according to what music industry sources tell CNET News.

    Apple is expected to announce the availability of pre-cut ringtones made from popular music tracks at next week’s media event on September 9.
    For music junkies like myself, this news - if it proves legit - would be huge. Not only could this development amount to some degree of savings, such an offering would now make the iPhone ringtone experience a significantly more convenient one. After all, its easier to look forward to pizza when you know you don't have to cook and and slice it first. Although pizzas and ringtone are difficult to pair in analogies, Apple is making it easier to do so on the heels of this potetial announcement.

    Although some critics on more than a few message boards I frequent were quick to deride the alleged "pre-cut ringtone" plan as lame for an Apple event, CNET had the ultimate comeback for such a criticism:

    Apple can’t be expected to put a ding in the universe with every single press conference; maybe what we’ll get next week will only amount to “Hey, Look – Ringtones!”
    If all we get - in addition to iPod upgrades and an updated iTunes - is a new ringtone regiment, I think that would still make for a lot of happy campers in the Apple fan club. Although there is no word yet on the price of these pre-cut ringtones, we know they will likely cost considerably less than the $2 or $3 we currently spend on some songs only to then have to slice and dice the ringtones ourselves. This development, if anything, will also likely give a renewed boost to the ringtone industry which is said to be on the decline after a few years of record sales and exponential growth.

    As indicated in the CNET report, SNL Kagan, a research firm, indicates that ringtone sales dropped from $714 million in '07 to $541 million in '08.

    No matter which way you slice it, September 9th is shaping up to be a music and multimedia-driven event for Apple. And although the company has big expectations to live up to, they've never really had problems doing so before. I doubt they will now.
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