Universal Music Group is poised to introduce a new mobile music product in the U.S. called "alert tones," sources say. Alert tones are brief snippets of a song that users can select to play when they

Universal Music Group is poised to introduce a new mobile music product in the U.S. called "alert tones," sources say.

Alert tones are brief snippets of a song that users can select to play when they receive incoming text messages, voicemail or other messages on their mobile device, similar to a ringtone. They are a popular product in Europe, but have not yet been available in the U.S.

Wireless operator Boost Mobile will reportedly be the first to offer the application in the U.S., which is expected to launch in a matter of weeks. Other record labels are also expected to contribute alert tones in the near future.

While exact pricing for the alert tones have not been confirmed, sources say they likely will cost slightly less than a master ringtone, which is currently about $2.50. An alert tone is generally between 2-5 seconds in length. The licensing agreement for the music is expected to be on par with ringtones as well, with record labels taking a similar cut per-sale for each alert tone, as they do for master ringtones.

Sources say UMG has converted "hundreds" of tracks into alert tones, including Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," 50 Cent's "Candy Shop" and "In Da Club," and Gwen Stefani's "Holla Back Girl." UMG also is creating made-for-mobile alerts by "key artists."

According to CTIA--The Wireless Association, about 9.8 billion text messages are sent in the U.S every month.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print