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    Music on your mobile

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    Radio station owner and music publisher Chrysalis is the latest music company to have launched a mobile arm designed to supply music content to mobile phones.

    The conviction that there is real money to be made in getting music in all forms onto phones has led to a variety of different approaches to skinning that particular musical cat. The essential element has been the introduction of rights control to a market that, in the realm of ring tones, was previously a free-for-all.

    Chrysalis Mobile’s take on the market is twofold. One is to use its radio stations to provide momentum for delivering content to mobile phones. A listener might hear a song and then text a number to receive a ringtone, other related content such as wallpaper, or in time a full download of the song. The other role Chrysalis wants to take is that of aggregator for independent records labels.

    Nick Gregg, strategy and business development director at Chrysalis Mobile, said that radio is a great marketing model for driving a record sale. He added that the company was taking the route of being an aggregator for independent labels because the big five labels generally had direct relationships with mobile operators.

    “Mobile operators are creating portals as retail front ends for ring tones and real tones and we aim to be a service provider to those,” Gregg said. “The five majors provide feeds direct to operators and we wouldn’t participate in that content. But we would aggregate as many independent labels as possible and provide a feed into an operator’s portal as a sixth major partner for them.”

    Gregg said the aggregator would provide ring tones and real tunes, as well as artwork and imagery and — “in the next year to 18 months” — the provision of full song download. “We would provide a bunch of files to the operator, in any edit and format they would like.”

    “People have missed that ring tones have been generating massive revenues, and whatever you say about them they are a form of music that people will pay for. Now with the advent of rights control things are moving back to the music industry,” Gregg said.

    Gregg said Chrysalis is working with “a number” of technology partners to manage the service, including a “very large” CRM element. The service is going live this week and the first client will be Galaxy, one of Chrysalis’ radio network, inn April 2004.

    It’s not only pure-play content aggregators trying to get in on the music action. Alcatel has recently announced an alliance with Universal Music, to bring Universal’s content to operator customers of Alcatel. The vendor hopes to combine that relationship with one or all of its DRM, content management, streaming and billing platforms – creating a whole content package for operators. Boyd Muir, executive vice president of Universal Music, said that with a thousand times more mobiles than music players in the world, and with ringtones already composing 10% of the global music market, “mobiles and music are a perfect combination.”

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