Are Ringtones Still Relevant in the Digital Age?

Gone are the days of loud, obnoxious ringtones. In the past five years or so, people have become increasingly attached to their phones, rarely leaving them more than a few inches away. As such, the gentle noise of a vibration motor has become all that is needed to alert someone of an incoming call. In 2004, Billboard released a list of the most popular ringtones, with 50 Cent's “In Da Club” taking home the award for Ringtone of the Year.

Ringtones were popular due to their accessibility on mobile phones, according to Richard Conlon, Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Communications and New Media at Broadcast Music Inc. To commemorate this moment in music history, here is a playlist of some of the most popular ringtones of the time. Service providers earned a share of sales and largely controlled distribution, while music industry charged licensing fees for ringtones based on popular songs. The gradual decline of the once lucrative ringtone market has been bittersweet for those in the music industry.

However, millions of dollars in ringtone sales have been invested into a grateful music industry that is struggling to adapt to the digital age.

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