In a move to generate revenue beyond its free internet telephone offering, Skype has struck a deal with a major US music company to sell ringtones and artist images.
Annoying tunes for VoIP phones
Under the deal, announced today, Warner Music will supply songs or short song snippets and images of popular artists to Skype, said Skype vice-president of worldwide marketing Saul Klein, in a telephone interview.
Under a revenue-sharing agreement, Skype will market the ringtones and artist images to its more than 70 million registered users.
"This is an outgrowth of the offering we launched last year for users to personalise their Skype service," Klein said.
To kickstart the new service, the VoIP (voice over IP) company will promote Madonna in its 'featured artist' section, according to Klein.
The cost per ringtone from an artist in the featured section will be $1.50 (about £1), he said. Pricing for the artists' images was not immediately available.
Skype, which was acquired last year by eBay, will seek to add ringtones and artist images from other music companies as the company builds up its personalised service, Klein said.
Additional revenue-sharing services offered by Skype include SkypeOut, which enables users to prepay for calls to landlines and mobile phones, and SkypeIn, which lets them receive calls from fixed-line and mobile phones.