How do you know if your cell phone ringtones are popular ringtones?
Just check the Billboard charts for the Popular Ringtones.
Billboard magazine, a weekly publication that keeps track of the most popular songs and albums, also ranks the hottest ringtones available for download.
This validation of ringtones by Billboard as marketable media merchandise puts to rest any of those hopes that cell phone ringtones are just a passing fad. Even harder to find are the cool ringtones everyone is looking for these days.
Ringtones are here to stay, and their spread is on the rise, thanks to the latest development in ringtone technology, “real tone,” which uses MP3 and Real Music technology to create tones with quality sound.
“The latest popular ringtones sound just like songs you’d hear on the radio,” says Mark Regan, 26, of Nashua, “They are like mini-versions of MP3s.”
Ringtones have indeed come a long way from the original monophonic tones from the late 1990s.
When cell phones first exploded onto the market, they came with a small choice of basic sounding tones that emitted one note at a time. These original tones were short and simple, before ringtones were downloadable.
In 2003, the polyphonic tone hit the market, sounding more like actual music with multiple notes played simultaneously.
With the dawn of polyphonic ringtones and downloadable tones, the market for popular ringtones took off.
Today, ringtone sales account for 10 percent of the global music market and are quickly overtaking CD sales. The Billboard list indicates that the ringtone industry is set to enjoy a long ride on the high-demand consumer wagon.
People have now begun to treat their cell phones similarly to their MP3 players or iPods, downloading all of the songs or tones they like and switching them frequently according to mood or occasion.
It is consumers like Regan that have boosted mobile-phone ringtone sales into a multibillion dollar industry.
With the youth culture’s stamp of approval, ringtones are now a must have item to project a hip image and have become the trendiest way to make a personal statement.
Recently, there has been an increase in the number of ringtone service providers available. Most offer free stuff with a subscription, like games, wallpapers and bonus tones..
With so many options available, there’s plenty of impulse buying.
“I’m addicted to downloading,” says Regan, “Each song I get is $2.50, but I keep buying more every time I hear a new good song. I have about 15 of the most popular ringtones on my phone right now.”