Turns out ringtones are sort of like CDs: sure, they're dying, but it's a slow, drawn-out death. And according to Gartner Research, ringtone revenues in the United States are still four times that of all subscription streaming services - combined. That includes Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, MOG, or whoever else you can shake a stick at in 2011.
But wait: it gets even crazier. Because it turns out that 'mobile personalization' products account for more than 1/3 of total digital music sales. That mostly includes ringtones, but also more exotic products like ringback tones (at least exotic in the US).
But how could we have missed this? Looks like if you're not a shiny new technology, no one cares! Case in point: slightly-less-sexy a-la-carte downloads still account for nearly 60 percent of the digital pie, while even less-sexy CDs are slightly less than half of all recorded music sales (according to the RIAA). Meanwhile, subscription services comprise 8.4 percent of the digital music market.
So when's the keg finally kicked on ringtones? Somewhere around 2016, at least according to Gartner, a near-eon in 'internet time'.
(images courtesy of MusicProductionSchools.net)
@jjmorganstern Monday, December 19, 2011
@theloganshow Monday, December 19, 2011
Ringtones ring the cash register.
@brianvirtue Monday, December 19, 2011
It's only so long that we can expect the consumers to pay for such a bad deal. There's no way to grow ringtone revenue.
Subscription can grow.
Music is not ONE thing... Monday, December 19, 2011
All these music tech surveys and articles are always focused to pop music.
It is very difficult for me to imagine ECM cutting their catalog in ringtones.
So true Tuesday, December 20, 2011
It is very boring to see all these "news" that only relate to the bubble gum top 20.
Sam Tuesday, December 20, 2011
It's easier to make 4x more than another category when you're available in basically most countries in the world. If you excluded Asia, you'd have a much different story.
Drew Iwanicki Tuesday, December 20, 2011
And so it seems Asia is worth paying attention to. I am interested in seeing how the industry serve rising markets in China, South Korea, and SE Asia in the future.
alden Tuesday, December 20, 2011
That's just the point then? It takes *forever* to roll Spotifys to other countries, ringtones a totally different story.
Tony Tuesday, December 20, 2011
got a link to the gartner research report?
@onlyONscripting Tuesday, December 20, 2011
That's just sad!
@mediajorge Tuesday, December 20, 2011
MisterSoftee Tuesday, December 20, 2011
As if you needed ANOTHER reason to de-prioritize Spotify.
@jonihoadley Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Really? Thought that business model was so 2002!
@jengray Tuesday, December 20, 2011
@jennykarakaya Tuesday, December 20, 2011
@StefanBielau Tuesday, December 20, 2011