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Ringtone Sales Fizzling August 16, 2009

Posted by David W. King in Uncategorized.
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Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), an organization that collects royalties for song writers and publishers, is forecasting that overall ringtone sales in the US will fall 7 percent in 2008 to approximately $510 million.

“The ringtone market continues to decline as the novelty phase wears off,” said Richard Conlon, BMI’s vice president of new media and development.

Major music companies have been counting on sales of digital products – ringtones included – to offset sinking CD sales.

Album sales, including downloadable album bundles and CDs, are off 11.8 percent year to date, following a 15 percent drop in 2007, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

However, record company executives cautioned that BMI’s numbers don’t tell the whole story.

“I don’t think we have quite hit the ceiling yet,” said Amanda Marks, executive vice president and general manager of digital distribution for Universal Music Group Distribution.
She argued that ringtone sales could yet see an uptick if all carriers made it easier to shop for ringers and other mobile music products.

Meanwhile, Conlon said that despite the problems for ringtones, there are other promising mobile music products that could help expand overall mobile music revenues for the industry.

Topping that list: Sales of ringback tones, songs that a person making a call hears in place of a tradition ringing sound, which are expected to grow 50 percent to $210 million in 2008

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