In a move to generate revenue beyond its free Internet telephone offering, Skype Technologies has struck a deal with a major U.S. music company to sell ring tones and artist images.
Under the deal, Warner Music Group will supply songs for ring tones, or short song snippets of popular artists, and images of these people to Skype, said Skype Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Saul Klein, in a telephone interview.
Under a revenue-sharing agreement, Skype will market the ring tones and artist images to its more than 70 million registered users.
"This is an outgrowth of the program we launched last year for users to personalize their Skype service," Klein said.
To kick start the new service, the VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) company will promote the artist Madonna in its "featured artist" section, according to Klein.
The cost per ring tone from an artist in the featured section will be US$1.50, he said. Pricing for the artists' images was not immediately available.
Skype, which was acquired last year by eBay, will seek to add ring tones and artist images from other music companies as the company builds up its personalized service, Klein said.
Additional revenue-sharing services offered by Skype include SkypeOut, which enables users to prepay for calls to landlines and cell phones, and SkypeIn, which lets them receive calls from fixed-line and mobile phones.