Broadcast Music inc., or BMI, expects ringtone sales to drop again this year to $510 million in U.S. sales. That’s a 7% drop from last year’s $550 million in estimated sales, and a 15% drop from 2006, when the U.S. ringtone market peaked at $600 million, BMI says.
Will ringback tones — music that a caller hears on the other end while the call is connecting — make up the difference? BMI expects ringback tone sales to hit $210 million in the U.S. this year, up 50% from its 2007 estimate of $140 million.
That’s a lofty growth projection, but it’s possible. Do you know anyone outside the music or mobile industries with a ringback tone? We don’t. So if they catch on at all among mainstream subscribers, 50% growth wouldn’t be out of the question.