September 2003

Record labels, Telecommunications, Internet 

Sales of downloadable ringtones for mobile phones look likely to outstrip CD singles in the UK in 2004. The ringtone market, estimated to be worth more than £70 million in the UK, is increasing rapidly. Sale of ringtones in 2002 were £40 million. CD singles are heading the other way, with sales currently at about ÿ£150 million (2002) but with an estimated 37% drop in 2003 on last year’s figures. August ’03 favourites include Flying on the Wings Of Love by XTN and Crazy in Love by Beyonce & Jay-Z.

COMMENT : With ringtones costing between £1.50 and £3 to download in the UK, the mobile phone operators, labels and music publishers have found a lucrative new maket. Another new growth area is the ‘spoken word’ – a voice rather than a ringtone which announces an incoming call or text. This might prove a new area of legal dispute – where imitators provide the voice of well known celebritiy for a download – for example, as Sir Michael Caine or Arnie as the Terminator alongside that star’s well known catch phrase or parody of that phrase. It will be interesting to see if artists seek to assert character rights over an imitation of their voice and their own catch phrases – and a share of the revenue.

Data: The Mobile Data Association.
See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/3143651.stm

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