With sales of CDs on a three-year slide, the music industry sees mobile phones as powerful outlets for promoting artists and distributing music for profit – something it failed to do in the early days of Internet music-swapping. In recent months, recording labels have entered deals with wireless carriers and other companies. The music companies are selling rights to their musicians’ recordings and images for use in screen savers, digital images and song snippets that are then sold to mobile phone users.

Madonna and other artists already send text messages to cellphones on new albums or tour dates. Nelly sent similar ones to fans who had submitted their numbers at concerts.

This month, members of Radiohead plan to reach fans on their mobile phones.
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