Virgin Mobile USA has teamed with Universal Music Group to provide exclusive access to master ringtones from the Shady/Interscope album "D12 World." The three-month deal -- which started May 17 -- mar
Virgin Mobile USA has teamed with Universal Music Group to provide exclusive access to master ringtones from the Shady/Interscope album "D12 World." The three-month deal -- which started May 17 -- marks the first time downloadable master ringtones have been available on an exclusive basis.
Dubbed First Dibs, Virgin Mobile's program is reminiscent of the iTunes Music Store's exclusive downloads and AOL's First Listen and First View programs. Howard Handler, chief marketing officer with Virgin Mobile USA, says the program will eventually be available year-round and include partnerships with other labels. He says D12 fits the profile of the "newest, latest, greatest" act that appeals to Virgin's 1.75 million users, 70% of whom are under age 30.
Unlike most mobile companies, Virgin's services are not available by subscription. Instead, users pay as they go for phone access, text messaging, e-mail, data, ringtones and other content and services.
Terms of the deal were not available. However, it is clear that Interscope is getting significant marketing value out of the relationship. Virgin will promote First Dibs access to the D12 master ringtones through national print, radio, cable and Web advertising. The TV campaign includes First Dibs spots during the June 10 MTV Movie Awards, at which D12 is scheduled to perform.
"Virgin speaks directly to a young, hip audience," says Steve Berman, chief of sales and marketing for Interscope Geffen A&M. "We view this as an incredible opportunity not only to enhance the marketing exposure to everything around D12 but also an opportunity to learn more about our audience."