Music industry to launch "ringle" CD format for holidays

Posted by Mark Raby

New York (NY) - As another effort to breathe life back into the physical CD format, Sony has created a new standard that will incorporate single tracks with cell phone ringtones.

The "ringle", which will receive its own logo and various brand associations, is expected to be a CD that contains three songs and one ringtone.  The plan, reports Reuters, is mainly to draw attention to one track, while the other tracks will be remixes or older songs from the same group.

It is a move to bring more affordable CD choices to consumers.  Full albums can still sell for well over $20, and CD singles are rare.  The expected price for a "ringle" bundle is around $7.

The format was created by Sony BMG, and it has also been adopted by Universal Music.  By the end of November, Sony plans to have 50 ringles available in retail stores, with Universal adding another 10 - 20 to the mix.

The Recording Association of America has certified the format and its name, and will help to create awareness for it both to consumers and other record labels.

Reuters reports that mark-ups on ringles would be nearly 50%, a substantial increase from the 35% markup retailers traditionally use for CD albums.  Cost would also be reduced for ringle production with slip-sleeve covers instead of jewel cases.

Users will only be able to access the ringtones via a computer and, in most cases, an Internet connection to download the file to a phone.

Disney earlier this year also created a new CD technology, called "enhanced CD", which allows users to access a digital magazine when the disc is inserted into a computer CD-ROM drive.

Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Amazon, four of the top five music retailers, have reportedly already agreed to stock ringles.