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Ringtone News - From Craze To Music Industry Saviour?

Mar 26, 2008
When ring tones first arrived on the market it was treated like a craze, a short term gimmick that would eventually fade away like the Yo-yo and clangers. The industry today chalks up $4.40 billion in sales with $600 million in the US alone and has become a marketing tool for the music industry who are suffering in uncertain times as sales of Cd's and video actually fell 7.6% in the last year. Even the electronic reproduction ring tones of original songs are making a comeback in some kind of retro kitsch movement.

Record companies are happy to sign up for revenue in a market that sees their new bands as well as their established artists being heard for 'free' in schools and around shopping malls as teenagers swap and listen to their friends ring tones. Its a marketing dream that is not only free for the record companies but actually brings in revenue. In fact, the market is so strong these days that even Billboard, who have tracked the fortunes of the nations most popular songs for over fifty years, is now running a chart on the popularity of the most popular ring tones.

Market Analysts do however have a note of caution for the future expansion in the industry. This points to the ever increasing supply and use of phones that can play MP3 files in the same way your i pod or music player can. They point to the diversification of use of mobile phones as a possible hindrance to further explosive growth. One thing is for sure, this is definitely no longer a craze and like all industries that mature, it will need to adapt to stay ahead of the field.

The darker side of the industry is one that has also caught the news in recent months. In Florida, the Attorney General, Bill McCollum recently agreed a settlement with ring tone promoter AzoogleAds. The settlement of $1 million was for misrepresentation on the part of AzoogleAds in that their online promotion of ring tone downloads has misled members into believing the downloads were free.

Ring tones normally come with a contract in which the telephone service provider is billed by the promoting company for a monthly subscription. This charge, which is then added to the subscribers phone bill allows the subscriber to download a fixed number of ring tones a month.

McCollum successfully argued that misleading promotion ads online had left countless subscribers paying for services that they did not know they had signed up for. McCollum heads a cyber fraud task-force in Florida that expects further action and is currently in talks with a number of ring tone promotion companies.

In a parallel move, service provider AT&T announced its intention to police the marketing of its affiliate promoters.

'Consumers should never be billed for services they thought were free of charge', Attorney General Bill McCollum was quoted as saying. 'Today's agreement establishes a precedent for wireless companies accepting responsibility for the way cell phone content is advertised on the internet and the manner in which charges are passed along to consumers. AT&T should be commended for being the first wireless company in the industry to offer this reform.'

These latest developments are sure signs that an industry that started as a craze is developing into a mature industry and finally carrying the responsibility that goes with it. As for the future - give me a ring!
About the Author
My Ringtoneshub is an ethical ring tones site where you can download ringtones for all types of phone. Read more article about ringtone articles at OMDN
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