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February 13, 2006

What you learn in schmoozing

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 3:29 PM

BARCELONA, Spain -- One of the nice things about a big international event like 3GSM is the different perspectives you can get.

While cramped in a small hallway, waiting for a Nokia press conference to begin early today, I met two companies that develop content for the Nokia platform: Green Tomato from China and Kamera from Stockholm.

On the topic of mobile music, Kamera CEO Henrik Eklund said that in Europe ringtones are still more popular than full-track music, even though they are more expensive. Arthur Chang, Green Tomato's CEO, said that surprised him -- the opposite is true in Asia. He said the ringtone market has started to cool as full-track songs have become more popular.

In the U.S., the jury is still out. Full-track music services have only begun to emerge with Sprint and Verizon Wireless both launching services. Sprint, which launched first, sells songs for $2.50 each. At that price, it far outweighs the cost of a song purchased on a computer, making it difficult for mass adoption.

Sprint Chief Operating Officer Len Lauer said recently that Sprint is looking at a subscription model where users would be able to download songs at a fixed monthly price.

Perhaps the U.S. has hope yet.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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