<img id="image2284" height=96 alt="van halen.jpg" src="http://old.mobilecrunch.com/wp-content/van%20halen.jpg"class="right"
Dave Matthews Band and Van Halen have been holding out from releasing their music as ringtones. But pressure from fans and promoters has caused these high-profile acts to release ringtones available on AT&T Mobility.
AT&T Mobility has exclusive access to a handful of Dave Matthews Band’s ringtones made from live recordings. In the near future studio tracks will be made into ringtones. Van Halen is making its most popular songs available to all wireless operators but for a limited time will be released only to AT&T customers.
Industry insiders think that popular bands are following the lead of supergroups like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC by getting into the ringtone market. There appears to be less of a taboo against dissecting music into ringtones for fans.
AT&T director of music and personalization products Mark Nagel says the Dave Matthews deal was a result of simply communicating the demand.
"It was a case where he was being searched for literally thousands of times a month with no content to give," he says. "We took those figures to the label and the band's management and let them know that people are asking for this. At the end of the day, it's their decision."
In Van Halen's case, the band is on a reunion tour. Capitalizing on that is one reason behind not only making the ringtones available at long last, but for doing so in a nonexclusive fashion.
"They have all kinds of fans using all types of operators," says David Dorn, senior VP of new-media strategy for Rhino, which manages the Van Halen catalog. "We just thought it made the most sense, with the band being on the road, to work with all of our partners."
Music purists may see this development as selling out to corporations by bastardizing the music to fit a ringtone format. But many fans see their favorite artists as icons that they are proud to display, even if just for a few seconds at the supermarket.