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Cingular to sell ring tones from MySpace bands

Targeting users of mobile online social networks, company will sell song snippets from groups that post on MySpace.

LAS VEGAS--Cingular Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. cell phone service, said on Thursday it plans to sell ring tones from bands that put their music on MySpace.com, the social Web site that is popular among teenagers.

Cingular, a venture of AT&T and BellSouth, said it hopes the service will boost revenue, customer loyalty and help its image among young people.

"One of our goals is to really appeal to and be relevant to younger people .... It's a reason to stay with Cingular in a highly competitive environment," said David Garver, a Cingular marketing executive at the CTIA wireless show here.

Customers will be able to preview ring tones and buy them on the MySpace Web site, which will then send them to their cell phone. Cingular plans to charge about $2.50 for each 30-second ring tone and will give the bands 25 percent of the proceeds.

The rest of the money will be split between Cingular and InfoSpace, which is helping to create and select the ring tones for Cingular.

U.S. operators are putting everything from music to video on cell phone networks in an effort to get customers to use their phones for more than just talking.

Yankee Group analyst Andy Castonguay said Cingular will need to be careful not to breach copyright laws as musicians may run afoul of music labels if only a portion of their song sounds like a previous track.

But he said working with new bands was a "great opportunity for them."

Because MySpace, owned by News Corp., has about 56 million users it has been eyed as a potential place to pick up young customers by companies including Cingular, and Helio, a Korean-American venture that is expected to set up a cell phone service for young people in the next few months.

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