CLONMEL -- I walked 300m from a parking lot to O Tuama's cafe for a morning coffee and heard three separate ringtones from mobile phones along the path. Ringtones are the new rock'n'roll. After talking to John Stanley of Globetech, I know the downloading of pop songs and melodies to mobile phones is a big business. While traditional software development wanes, the most promising new start-up for the Tipperary Technology Park does ringtones. According to the Mobile Data Association, sales of ringtones will rise 60% in 2003 to more £70m. This means there is more revenue from ringtones than from the sales of CD singles.
Ringtones brand you by the genre of song you choose. My aural identification is a snippet of Irish music recorded by my Nokia 9210i while in Sicily.
The music industry should reflect on ringtones instead of suing those sharing low quality tracks. The RIAA says sales of CD singles collapsed because of the Internet. Yet album sales rose in Ireland and the UK last year. I know why singles are slumping -- it's competition from DVDs, games, and ringtones. So why won't the music industry embrace the ringtone market by generating multiple formats for the Top 40, ensuring pop sounds for every make of phone? Doing that would embrace the zero-distribution costs of the Internet and make more money than the fines collected by suing college students for files they shared. And contrary to the press releases spewed forth from the RIAA, the music industry is pouncing on the little guy.
Each of the three ringtone I heard this morning in Clonmel cost up to EUR 5. People will pay for things they want.
BBC -- "Industry targeting big pirates"
Karlin Lillington -- "Coulda fooled us"
Sent mail2blog from O Tuama's over coffee in Clonmel, using Nokia 9210i O2 TypePad connection. Only Irish pixels were used in uploading this comment.