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Sound of Money for Ringbacks

Sales predicted to rise in '09.

Retail sales of ringback tones will increase 15 percent and pass $235 million during 2009, according to a report from Broadcast Music Inc.

The music licensers' annual report covering mobile music estimated that more than 10 million U.S. cell phone subscribers are signed up for ringback-tone services with their wireless carriers. A ringback tone is a piece of music a caller hears when he or she phones a participating subscriber. They are sold by all major cell phone carriers and retail for $1.99 to $2.50 per tone.

Meanwhile, sales of ringtones fell 33% in 2008.
"Mobile phones are a multi-format device and have become a distribution outlet for entertainment content for the consumer," said Richard Conlon, BMI's vice president of new media & strategic development. "[Ringback tones] is a music use area that we see a continuing growth rate for."