SendMe Broadens Ringtone Repertoire Via IODA Deal

The hit-driven ringtone business isn't usually associated with independent music. But mobile content supplier SendMe Inc. aims to broaden its ringtone repertoire through a new deal with the Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA), which boasts a roster of more than 1 million tracks from thousands of independent labels.

Under the deal, SendMe will offer customers access to IODA's entire 400,000-track mobile catalog via SendMeMobile.com, including ringtones from artists such as Snoop Dogg, Presidents of the United States, Aventura and Kottonmouth Kings.

SendMe co-founder and CEO Russell Klein said the deal extends the "long tail" business model to mobile content. "Where we see an opportunity is that the deeper we make our catalog, the more we'll be able to capture users searching for those tracks in the long tail, and better present someone with content they might not have thought of previously," he said.

The IODA deal marks SendMe's latest effort to expand its mobile music selection. The two-year-old company has a prior agreement with digital independent music distributor The Orchard, and last month added 4,000 new ringtones through a partnership with EMI that spans the label's full range of mobile content. "It's all part of our strategy to offer users the broadest and deepest catalog of relevant content for their mobile phones," Klein said.

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Such deals also help the company exploit its considerable investment in back-end technology to be able to deliver content wirelessly to a wide range of handsets and mobile networks, he said.

IODA has previously entered into similar agreements with ringtone sellers including Thumbplay and RingToneJukeBox.

Technology research firm IDC predicts that U.S. ringtone will approach $1 billion by 2010, up from about $430 million last year. Almost 10% of U.S. wireless subscribers purchased a ringtone in December, according to mobile market researcher M:Metrics.

Besides ringtones, SendMe sells mobile entertainment content including wallpapers and games, and offers sweepstakes contests through its SoLow.com property. It also operates mobile community mbuzzy.

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