Warner Music International said today (July 7) it has struck a deal to distribute short samples of repertoire to German cell phone users.

Warner Music International said today (July 7) it has struck a deal to distribute short samples of repertoire to German cell phone users.

Through an agreement with Vodafone Germany, users can download seven-second SMS tones -- short versions of master ringtones and videotones -- from WMI's artist roster. The tones act as message signals for incoming SMS texts.

From this week, content from such artists as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Linkin Park and Sean Paul will be available from the Vodafone live! mobile portal. Going forward, the SMS tones will be offered via each partnering service provider's Web site, including www.vodafone.de and www.handy.de. A WMI spokesperson says prices for the SMS tones are set by the service providers.

Other markets will follow, through mult-territories agreements with such partners as Vodafone, AOL and O2.

"We are proud to be pioneering this initiative with our partners globally and are excited by its potential," comments Warner Music Germany director of new business Tim Van Dyk. "We had very positive consumer feedback on this product because normal ringtones are too long to be used as SMS alerts." According to Van Dyk, more than 20 billion SMSs were exchanged in Germany last year.