The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Hate the selection of ringtones on your cellphone? Then download a new one, like everyone else does--to the tune of $3.5 billion in worldwide sales in 2003.

More significant is the percentages behind that sum: It's a 40 percent increase over 2002's volume, and it represents some 10 percent of the music industry's worldwide business.

I've known for a while that the ringtone format is a big deal in the music business, especially overseas. It was illustrated for me in these terms: In Europe, a music single is typically released in five distinct formats simultaneously: CD, cassette, video, mp3, and ringtone.

I think it's notable that, despite these astronomical numbers, ringtones still take a backseat to another mobile phone gewgaw:

Ring tones and games still lag well behind basic text messaging, which generated $40 billion last year for mobile phone companies. That figure is expected to explode as phone users get into the habit of sending multimedia and picture messages, [Arc Group analyst Richard] Jesty said.

Unbelievable... I've sent, I think, one text message in my whole life. I don't think the person I sent it to even knew what it was, and never read it.