The most prevalent mobile music services in the world are ring tones. According to the latest worldwide survey by Informa Telecoms & Media of Music & Copyright, ring tones accounted for nearly 38% of operator-deployed mobile music services, followed by full-track downloads, at just over 32%, and ring-back tones, at 26%.
For all the talk of a declining market, ring tones still have the highest per-download prices among all mobile-music products, averaging US$2.44 in their real-music format. Even polyphonic ring tones sell, on average, for slightly more than full tracks. Ring-back tones are the third-most-featured mobile music service on operator Web sites, accounting for just over a quarter of the services detected by the Informa survey. Ring-back tones are the second-cheapest, after monophonic ring tones, but that is only if seen from a purely “per download” perspective. Ring-back tones actually generate more revenue than any other, since download payments are rental payments that must be repeated at regular intervals to secure ownership of the tone. They also incur a monthly subscription charge.