Apps, Mobile & SMS

Music Ringtones Continue Decline

The music ringtone market is continuing its steady decline, according to a new study from industry research firm IBISWorld.  The company forecasts that revenue will decline for the second consecutive year down 15% to $750 million from its $880 million peak in 2007.

Ringtone chart

Growing demand of downloads, worth an estimated $1.94 billion, are the
reason behind the eroding mobile ringtone market according to the
study.  Early ringtones were bought via text and cost consumers up to
$5 a song.  Today songs can be purchased for less than a dollar.

“Music ringtones practically boomed overnight, but with two consecutive years of decline it seems the industry is exiting just as rapidly as it entered,” said Toon van Beeck, senior analyst with IBISWorld. “And with the ringtone market already reaching its decline stage, its life cycle is only expected to last about 15 years.”

“Mobile Phones are now truly wireless Internet devices and allow consumers to download full songs for ringtones rather than the 30-second versions available in the past,” said van Beeck.  “Providers like iTunes and have revolutionized the way we buy and use music, driving consumers to hang-up on ringtones.” 

Share on:


  1. I have never, ever understood why anyone would pay $5 for a cruddy, bleep-n-bloop rendition of a short excerpt from a song that cost maybe $2 in it’s it’s full CD quality version (assuming 10 tracks on a $20 CD).
    This whole market has always seemed to me to be an excellant example of the saying that “a fool and his money are soon parted”.

  2. Purchasing a ringtone was a simple way for people to express their individual “sonic identity.” The transaction had a very low barrier of entry in terms of technology. Anyone could do it. Though it was destined to fade, it’s rise during the post-Napster era is certainly instructive.

  3. I agree that I don’t see why someone would spend money on a ringtone when you can create one yourself rather easily.
    I never really thought this was a long-term market. Time will tell.

  4. Musical ringtones are for people too stupid to know how annoying they are to everyone else — especially when the ringer volume is on “11”. Glad to see them dieing off.

  5. The ringtone market was never sustainable because people weren’t going to buy very many of them. They’d spend more than the going price for a song because they only planned to do it occasionally.
    The exact reverse psychology happened when they wanted to fill up their iPods. They wanted thousands of songs, so even $1 per song was too much to pay. They looked for ways to acquire songs for free or minimal cost.

Comments are closed.