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Monday, 14 May, 2001, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Waterman slams 'rip-off' ring tones
Veteran songwriter and producer Pete Waterman has criticised musical mobile phone ring tones as a "waste of money".

Waterman airs his criticisms in an investigation into the cost of mobile phone ring tones on BBC One's Hard Cash programme, due to be broadcast on Monday.

Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue
Waterman was behind many 80s pop phenomea
The Coventry-born impresario, known for his knack for spotting mass market pop acts, says that most of the tones on the market are not worth the money.

"I just think some of them are rip-offs and some of them are blatantly nothing like the song," he said.

Many children dial premium rate numbers to get a hold of the week's chart hit for their mobile phone's ring tone.

The lines charge up to 1.50 a minute and can cost even more from mobiles.


Hard Cash found youngsters who had spent nearly 300 after changing their ring tones repeatedly.

The cheap way to get a new ring tone is to find one of the many internet sites where various dial tones can be downloaded for free.

But Waterman - who was part of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman outfit that produced Rick Astley, Bananarama and Steps - says that many of these are not even recognisable.

A-ha vocalist
A-ha's '80s hit Take On Me is a popular choice for mobile owners
"In the office we downloaded a load of ring tones from the internet and we could only recognise about 20 of them."

Waterman has been responsible for 20 British number ones, 200 British hits in all and record sales totalling over 500 million.

Some of the better known hits he has produced are Bananarama's Love In The First Degree, Kylie Minogue's Better The Devil You Know, and Dead Or Alive's You Spin Me Round.

He is well-known for his outspoken opinions on the music industry - most recently he dismissed Popstars group Hear'Say as "karaoke".

Last year Waterman charted his rise from Coventry railway worker to multi-millionaire record producer in an autobiography entitled I Wish I Was Me.

Hard Cash - with the feature on mobile phone ring tones - will be broadcast on BBC One on Monday at 19:30.

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