Warner Music Group (WMG) and Mobileway, the San Mateo, Calif.-based wireless entertainment and marketing company, have created a partnership that allows customers to purchase ringtones via text messag

Warner Music Group (WMG) and Mobileway, the San Mateo, Calif.-based wireless entertainment and marketing company, have created a partnership that allows customers to purchase ringtones via text messaging.

Already popular in countries like the U.K. and Japan, the technology uses dialing short codes and keywords, which WMG will feature and promote on CD packages, artist Web sites, album posters and online banner ads. WMG is the first major music company to brand a wireless service on its CD packaging.

"It's a great thing for the consumer and obviously for the record labels to have direct connections to mobile subscribers who are fans of their artists," says WMG senior VP of Internet strategy and business development Michael Nash.

The short codes and keywords work together to access the mobile Internet and initiate the file transfer of the selected content, which is then delivered on-demand by an incoming text message, a process dubbed Premium SMS (short messaging service).

This service will work for text-message- and ringtone-enabled phones across the AT&T, T-Mobile and Cingular wireless networks. Later this year, WMG will provide artist content such as screensavers and wallpaper via Premium SMS.

Like most ringtone purchases, the download charges -- ranging from $1.99 for ringtones and $2.49 for voice tones -- appear on the customer's wireless bill.