Crazy Frog, Crazy Future?!

So the Crazy Frog makes it to number one in the UK*, and that was off the back of a number of labels fighting for the troubadour amphibian’s signature. A little while ago one major record label exec said that he wouldn’t have believed it if 6 months previously he had been told he would be “fighting for the signature of an animated frog”.

There are of course the endless debates about what this signifies for the music industry when a ring tone keeps one of the UK’s most successful bands (Coldplay) of the top spot. However there is also another angle which has some delicious irony for the record labels.

A key (though not the only) reason for ring tone providers like Jamster (the home of Crazy Frog) churning out the likes of Cray Frog, Nessie and Sweety is because of the size of the license fees being commanded by record labels for true tones. The result is that mobile content providers seek out content which they can own and therefore take a much larger share of the pie. Hence the great irony that the net result of this process is that the labels end up paying for the rights to ring tone content.

Will the labels start being less demanding with their license fees? There is a risk that if they don’t, what was a booming revenue stream for them will become the near exclusive domain of animated crooning animals.

And if you think this sounds like speculative fantasy, take a look at Jamster’s UK download chart here.

*Note: my colleague David Card beat me to the punch on this one – by posting during a public holiday – cheat 😉