Smartphone ringtones, we've heard it all before... or have we?
The first decade of this century represented probably the most profitable years of the music industry with the ringtone business. During this exact same period, labels strongly and loudly worried about leaving the traditionnal market for the new digital one considering the potential income losses they would register. The state of grace of ringtones craziness, 2004-2006, could leverage the transition for music companies to digital music market way beyond expections and I would say beyond my imagination!
In 2004, in North America as in Europe, ringtones dragged around $245 million, close to $600 million in 2005 and beyond in 2006! Global sales rose to $3.5 billion in 2005, accounting for 10% of the music market, according to the London-based ARC Group. We are talking about a 30 second by- product, or, you can see as the cherry on top.
As an example, the song Candy Shop by 50 Cent sold 1.9 million downloads at an average price of 1.99$; you can easily do the math.
How do the slices of the pie split? “Everything is negotiable”, says Paul Menes, entertainment and new-media lawyer and writer on the music, publishing and licensing industries. Quoting Billboard magazine he shared the most common split of a ringtone income: “The carrier gets 40%, the artist 20%, the label 20%, the publisher 10%, performing rights 5% and 5% to the hosting service”.
One can tell it is a very profitable business… or, sould I say, was.
The RIAA announced that Lil Wayne's "Lollipop"was the biggest-selling ringtone ever in 2009. But since then, the sales dropped. For the past couple of years, most people have slowed or even stopped downloading ringtones. We have to admit that it is no longer a fun novelty. We probably got bored. For those still addicted, they can now create customized ringtones for free from their music files from many available apps. Moreover, with 4.1 bn phones over the planet and 52,083 texts sent every second, texting is definitely the main way of communicating, relegating ringtones at a second level.
"The availability of so many other things on your phone takes the focus a little bit away from some of the things that were big before," said Bakula of Nielsen.
What remains is the mobile phone and our memories of the snippets of music we proudly displayed! Do you remember your first customized ringtones?
Here is the all times Top 10 Ringtones:
1. Lil Wayne, featuring Static "Lollipop" 2008 (Listen: YouTube)
2. Beyoncé "Irreplaceable" 2006 (Listen: YouTube)
3. Akon, featuring Eminem "Smack That" 2006 (Listen: YouTube)
4. By T-Pain, featuring Mike Jones "I'm N Luv", 2005 (Listen: YouTube - remix)
5. By 50 Cent "In Da Club", 2003 (Listen: YouTube)
6. By Beastie Boys "Brass Monkey", 1986 (Listen:YouTube)
7. By Cyndi Lauper "Girls Just Want To Have Fun", 1983 (Listen:YouTube)
8. By AC/DC "Back in Black", single released in 1981! (Listen: YouTube)
9. The theme song from "The Dukes of Hazzard", "Good Ol' Boys" by Waylon Jennings, 1980 (Listen:YouTube)
10. By Marvin Gaye "Let's Get It On", 1973 (Listen:YouTube)
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What ringtones do you have in your phone? Share your favorites ones with us!
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