RealNetworks (yeah, those guys) is looking to reinvent ringback tones for smartphones and has debuted a new LISTEN app. Set to hit top-tier carriers in U.K. later this month, the app/service will come to the United States and other markets in the new year. Look for both free and paid versions of the app; an iOS version is expected as well.
Are you looking forward to hearing Usher sing when you call your boss?
REALNETWORKS ANNOUNCES LISTENTM – REINVENTING RINGBACK TONES FOR SMARTPHONES
SEATTLE, Nov. 13, 2013 – RealNetworks, Inc. (NASDAQ: RNWK) today introduced LISTENTM, a new app and service for music lovers and listeners that completely reinvents the ringback tone experience for smartphone users. LISTEN makes setting up and managing ringback tones – the songs and messages that play when someone calls you – easier and more flexible than ever before.
“LISTEN makes ringback tones more fun and useful. LISTEN is the first direct-to-consumer smartphone app that allows consumers to quickly and easily customize their callers’ experiences with music. We’re excited to roll out LISTEN in partnership with top-tier carriers in the U.K. later this month and in the U.S. and across the globe in 2014,” said Max Pellegrini, President of RealNetworks’ Mobile Entertainment.
“We pioneered ringback tones over a decade ago in Korea in partnership with SK Telecom. With our carrier partners we now have more than 18 million ringback tone subscribers, and the industry is estimated to be over $4 billion globally,” said Rob Glaser, Founder and Interim CEO of RealNetworks. “But until now, nobody has really reinvented or re-imagined what ringback tones can be in the era of smartphones. With LISTEN, we’re changing that.”
With LISTEN, consumers can:
- Easily assign specific songs to different contacts and add images to those contacts;
- Enjoy intuitive features such as an automatic “top callers” list based on the user’s call history, and song-matching based on music already on their phone;
- Assign a specific voice status alert to tell callers when they’re unable to answer their phone, such as while driving or in class;
- Manage how their mobile device responds to inbound calls by easily allowing them to change their status when they can’t answer;
- Auto-set songs for holidays or special occasions like birthdays – to ensure Mom’s birthday is never forgotten; and
- Let your friends choose what song they want to hear when they call you.
- All of these features work with an extensive, up-to-date, high-quality catalog of music containing thousands of songs.
The LISTEN app is free; the service will be available in both free and paid versions. The app – which will be available on both Android and Apple’s iOS platform – will debut in the U.K. before the end of 2013 and in the U.S. in early 2014.
RealNetworks, in partnership with more than 100 carriers across the globe, currently manages more than 18 million active global ringback tone subscribers mostly in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In 2002, RealNetworks’ WiderThan Division launched the world’s first ringback tone service with SK Telekom in South Korea.
For more information on LISTEN, please visit http://www.listen.com.
About RealNetworks, Inc.
RealNetworks creates innovative products and services that make it easy for people to connect with and enjoy digital media. RealNetworks invented the streaming media category and continues to connect consumers with their digital media both directly and through partners, aiming to support every network, device, media type and social network. Find RealNetworks corporate information at www.realnetworks.com.
RealNetworks and its respective logos are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of RealNetworks. Other products and company names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective owners.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including statements relating to the launch of LISTEN, and expectations regarding its availability and functionality, our expectations and estimation of the ringback tone market, and plans to expand our offerings. All statements contained in this press release that do not relate to matters of historical fact should be considered forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted. Factors that could cause actual results to differ from the results predicted include technological factors, consumer acceptance, and competitive factors such as the emergence of new entrants in the market. More information about potential risk factors that could affect RealNetworks’ business is included in RealNetworks’ annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent year ended December 31, its quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and in other reports and documents filed by RealNetworks from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or information, which are in effect as of their respective dates.