Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Ringtone Business Is Still Alive

Mobile Services Numbers image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
I'm always amazed at just how long a dying business can hang on. Take the cassette for instance. You can still buy blank cassettes, get mass duplication services and even buy brand new pre-recorded product even in 2011. And in these days of widespread broadband, AOL still has a billion dollar business in the ancient dial-up services (remember modems?). And that's not even mentioning the DVD.

Which is why it should be no surprise that the ringtone business is still alive and well. Don't get me wrong, it's not increasing at all, but it's far from dead and buried.

This was all brought home by a recent Gartner study on recorded music that predicts, among other things, that digital music services will become an almost $8 billion piece of the music industry by 2015. But if you look closely at the chart on the left from that study, you'll find an interesting item called "Personalization Services." What the heck is that, you may be thinking? Well, glad you asked.

Personalization Services is their shorthand for ringtones and ringbacks, which as you can see, is still a $2.1 billion business in 2011. Just think about that for a moment. 4 or so years after the ringtone fad passed us by, people are still buying ringtones - a lot of them. Years after a wide variety of software has made it so easy for the average user to make their own ringtones, some people are still buying them instead. $2.1 billion dollars worth!

Gartner goes on to say that in 2015 they predict the now lowly CD will still garner $10 billion worth of business (see yesterday's blog for more on the current CD business), while ringtones will fall to about a bill and a half. Once again, this proves the point - don't be fooled into thinking that a business or technology is dead and gone just because the numbers are trending downhill and the press has deemed it passe. There's much more life (and dollars) left in those so-called dead technologies than you'd ever believe was possible.
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