Supporting AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Sprint PCS and T-Mobile, the store launches with 80+ ringtones from some of Word's best-selling and award-winning artists. Initial offerings include polyphonic ringtones (keyboard simulations), mastertones (album recordings) and voice ringtones from Nicole C. Mullen, Building 429, Mark Schultz, George Huff, Stellar Kart, Sixpence None The Richer, Salvador, David Phelps and others. Ringtones for Amy Grant, Randy Travis, Jaci Velasquez, Kristy Starling, Point Of Grace, Mute Math and Rachael Lampa are in production and will be available later this spring. Word is also providing artists with individual ringtone stores for their websites, the first being launched for Stellar Kart. Compatible phone models, manufacturers and carriers supported in the label and artist stores will be increased throughout 2005.
In addition to the label's innovative response to the rapidly emerging ringtone market, Word is a pioneer for the Christian industry through their participation in the ringback tone services recently launched by T-Mobile and Verizon. Ringbacks allow individuals to select audio clips for the incoming callers to hear before a cell phone is answered. Notable is Word's partnership with T-Mobile's CallerTunes, where consumers have been receiving Sixpence's "Kiss Me" as a bonus 30-day CallerTune with their service subscription. "Kiss Me" is the second bonus CallerTune offered in the T-Mobile service, following the initial program launch which featured Alicia Keys.
"The success Warner Music Group is experiencing has allowed us to develop relationships with virtually every major wireless provider," explains Dawn Gates, Manager of New Media for Word Records. "The response has been overwhelming and we've really just begun to scratch the surface. We're excited to be blazing the trail for our industry and plan to launch the first widespread Christian artist wallpapers to providers in March."
Launching the first widespread Christian ringtones into the marketplace last summer, Word Records partnered with Mobile365 to support the release of Building 429's national debut, Space In Between Us, which incorporated wireless branding into the CD packaging. The CD included a five-digit code, known as a "short-code," that consumers in the U.S. were able to use to directly download the "Glory Defined" ringtone in one simple step from their cell phone via text messaging. This partnership marked another first in the Christian industry and Word repeated the success with wireless branding in two other album packages in 2004, The Best Of Sixpence None The Richer and George Huff's My Christmas EP/!
"The music business is a continually changing environment and the ringtone and cellular market represents a rapidly growing segment," says Word Record's Sr. Vice President Of Marketing, Rod Riley. "And we will continue to develop a marketing mix that embraces cutting-edge technology as a viable outlet to market our artists and their music."
Word Records ringtones are available in the following wireless providers: Sprint PCS, AT&T Wireless, Cingular, T-Mobile, Verizon, VirginMobile, Zingy (serving Nextel, MTV, Boost, AT&T, Ringtones 1.7, DOB, VH1, UPOC), AGMobile, ModTones, InfoSpace-Moviso (serving AllTell, Motorola, Samsung), 9Squared and Mobile365.