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“The slowdown in ringtone growth, however, was partially offset by the first wave of promising U.S. growth in ringback tones.”
——BMI’s Richard Condon
RINGTONE MARKET HEADING DOWNSTREAM, BMI STATS SHOW
The “Novelty” Phase Is Over for a Previously Encouraging Sector of the Mobile Music Market
The ringtone market matured in 2006 and is expected to dip by 8% in 2007, according to BMI’s annual projection for U.S. ringtone sales. BMI estimates that the 2007 music ringtone market will dip to $550 million this year, compared to $600 million in the previous calendar year, $500 million in 2005, $245 million in 2004 and $68 million in 2003.

On the other hand, BMI projects that ringbacks will generate approximately $65 million in retail content revenues on the year. For those of you who are in the dark (as we were until a minute ago), a ringback tone is a musical work that is performed to the caller when placing a call to a participating mobile subscriber.

“As we forecasted last year, the ringtone market matured in 2006,” BMI VP of New Media and Strategic Development Richard Conlon confirmed. “The slowdown in ringtone growth, however, was partially offset by the first wave of promising U.S. growth in ringback tones. We believe that the ringtone market’s growth has leveled off and the novelty phase has ended. We envision increased revenue opportunity in the streaming sectors of the mobile entertainment market, ranging from ringtones to audiovisual cellular phone TV-style offerings.”

Since entering the market in 2001, BMI has tracked and processed more than a half-billion individual ringtone sales by title, artist and gross retail revenues generated. BMI also tracks titles and revenues associated with ringback tone services. BMI’s database of earnings and titles is believed to be the most comprehensive in the industry. BMI uses the data that it collects to distribute public performance royalties on a pro-rated basis to its affiliated songwriters, composers and music publishers.

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