Maxim, Blender, and Stuff magazines have launched mobile phone portals to distribute their branded ringtones, sound effects, images, games, and applications. The mobile wireless portals (for example, Maxim‘s) feature content such as Beyonce’s Crazy in Love and Justin Timberlake‘s Senorita set as ringtones and Maxim’s Hometown Hotties pinups as handset screen backgrounds, all US$2.00 each. All three magazines are owned by Dennis Publishing.
Many traditional magazine publishers would be surprised to learn that selling mobile phone ringtones is a big business. It earned an estimated US$1.3 billion in Europe and Asia last year. By comparison, the world’s entire music recording industry earned US$33 billion, so major music companies have taken note of ringtone sales as a way to introduce new music. More than 260,000 new CDs hit the market in 2001, he said, yet less than 1000 of each sold. Jay Samit, senior vice president of EMI Recorded Music told Telephony Online that offering music on mobile phones would lead to fierce customer loyalty for wireless carriers. He believes that mobile phones can provide EMI with niche marketing opportunities that are too expensive to conduct in the retail world.