With more and more handsets now supporting MP3 ringtones, and the new iPhone making it easier to sync the songs on your PC to your handset, it appears revenues in the lucrative ringtone business could be at risk.
Andrew Bud, vice-chairman of the Mobile Entertainment Forum, exemplified the current view of many industry doom-mongers when he recently suggested that ‘the ringtone business is in peril now because the operators have allowed into the market mobile phones which can sideload MP3s and use them as ringtonesÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Where Bud sees Ã¢â‚¬Ëœperil’, one company has spotted an opportunity. UK company Synchro Arts reckons their ReVoice Singtones service is one way to keep the ringtone business alive.
Singtones let people record their favourite tracks, and their singing is then Ã¢â‚¬Ëœfixed’ so even the tone-deaf sound great. Their enhanced vocal is mixed with a backing track and can be sent to mobile phones to use as a unique personalised ringtone and caller ID.
Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe challenge now is for ringtone providers to deliver fun, distinctive and useful new concepts,’ says Singtones boss Jeff Bloom. Ã¢â‚¬ËœWe’ve always felt that whilst standard ringtones offer mobile customisation, what people really want is personalisation. For example, Singtones offer perfect caller-IDs. Having a friend or one of your kids sing to you when they call is great fun. It’s also useful to know who’s calling without having to reach for your phone. No downloaded chart track can offer that level of personalisation.’