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Jay-Z raps on in 10 exclusive ringtones

Granting vendors exclusive rights to sell digital music is one way the music industry can generate sales. It worked for iTunes and Coldplay. Will it work for Thumbplay and Jay-Z?

Roc-a-fella Records

With sales for digital singles outpacing CD sales, it's hard to imagine an artist overlooking any avenue of digital distribution and revenue. Yet with the exception of a handful of tracks, American rap icon Jay-Z has resisted releasing his 100-song catalog as ringtones--until last week. That's when most of the remaining tracks streamed into the digital media marketplace. Most. Through August, ten of the artist's smash singles have been earmarked for only one site.

Starting Monday, those hidden hits, including 'Can I Get A', 'IZZO (H.O.V.A.)', and 'Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)', became exclusively available on Thumbplay, a mobile content company with an estimated worth of $400 million, now carries 101 prepackaged Jay-Z ringtones, including the coveted 10 (see the exclusive titles below.)

But will ringtones continue to sell in a hobbled economy? Mitch Rotter, Thumbplay's Vice President of Content Acquisition & Merchandising, thinks they will. Ringtones are about social expression, he said in an interview. To a youth demographic, "they're a fashion accessory," and therefore a worthy buy for teens proving their cool to peers within earshot.

Thumbplay logo

Thumbplay's Jay-Z titles:

1-900-Hustler, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (2000)
-Can I Get A, Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life (1998)
-Encore, The Black Album (2003)
-Excuse Me Miss, The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse (2002)
-Girls, Girls, Girls, The Blueprint (2001)
-Heart Of The City (Ain't No Love), The Blueprint (2001)
-IZZO (H.O.V.A.), The Blueprint (2001)
-Jigga What, Jigga Who, Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life (1998)
-Roc Boys (And The Winner Is), American Gangster (2007)
-S. Carter, Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter (1999)