Ringtone Sales Falling Says BMI
March 28, 2008 at 5:37 AM (PT)
BROADCAST MUSIC INC. is forecasting that overall ringtone sales in the U.S. will fall 7% in 2008 to approximately $510 million, reports THE NEW YORK POST. That drop comes on the heels of the ringtone business skidding 8% in 2007 to $550 million. The market peaked in 2006 with sales in the U.S. of $600 million, BMI said.
"The ringtone market continues to decline as the novelty phase wears off," said BMI VP/New Media And Development RICHARD CONLON. CONLON said that consumers now can now use third-party software to quickly and easily make ringtones of their favorite songs at little to no cost rather than pay $2 to $3 to purchase a ringtone from their wireless carrier.
Major music companies have been counting on sales of digital products -- ringtones included -- to offset sinking CD sales.
However, record company executives cautioned that BMI's numbers don't tell the whole story.
Some label executives expect the higher-margin end of the business -- which uses snippets from actual songs, rather than recreating music for ringers -- will continue to grow this year, albeit at a slower rate.
"I don't think we have quite hit the ceiling yet," said UMG EVP/GM Digital Distribution AMANDA MARKS. 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. She suggests offering products in a single place and allowing consumers to listen to previews of ringtones before they buy them.