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Ringtone royalties top $71m

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Songwriters collected $71m (£44m) last year in royalties from the sale of mobile phone ringtones.

Last year's performance was up almost 60 per cent on the year before, which saw global ringtone royalties warble in at $45m ($28m). Most of this growth came from the US and Europe. Total global sales of ringtones is estimated to be worth around $1bn (£630m).

These figures come courtesy of Mobile Music, a report from Baskerville, which is part of the Informa Telecoms and Media Group.

The authors claim mobile music offers a lucrative new market, which has expanded rapidly despite the drawbacks of playing music on digital phone.

Even though there are many hurdles to overcome - such as battery life and network speeds - the report's authors predict that the ringtone market is likely to pave the way for the eventual take-up of more elaborate mobile music.

Indeed, they claim this growing area could prove to be a neat fit for both the music and mobile phone industries.

Said the report: "The music industry is looking at ways to find new revenue opportunities to make up for the massive leakage through fixed Internet applications.

"Mobile operators are seeing voice ARPU (average revenue per user) eroded, and are looking to data services to generate an increasing amount of their income," it said.

The theory is that with both the mobile and music industries currently seeing their traditional revenue sources being undermined, a tie-up could see both sectors singing all the way to the bank. ®

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