Hey, I’m at the tail end of the baby boom and you’ve been hearing all about how we refuse to grow old gracefully or cast aside our youthful ways, outlook, thought patterns. Generally this holds true for me: I’m as deeply entrenched in popular culture as ever, and I can still relate easily and often deeply to a culture that is still defined by youthfulness. I have two sets of two kids, the elder 20 and 17, the younger 5 and 1, and I can easily dig both their scenes, man: I’m all hep and shit.
But I cannot for the life of me explain the ringtone phenomenon. The ringtone market exploded first in Asia and then Europe, and I held out the hope that American youth — who are the primary market for this nonsense — would not succumb, but I no longer hold out such hope.
An estimated $4 billion of 30-second tones and other melodies for mobile phones was sold last year, according to Consect, the New York-based mobile consulting and analysis company that prepares Billboard’s weekly chart, with the U.S. accounting for $300 million of that.
I can see that a snippet of a song either in crappy synthesized form, or now, a snippet of the actual original recording, would be kind of cool, in a very limited offhand kind of way, but I can’t imagine in a million years actually PAYING someone (like Zingy, Moviso, Qtones, Ringtones.com) for the privilege:
“Dude, I found some extra cash behind the couch cushion. Should I buy ringtones for my phone or flush it down the toilet, cause I can’t think of anything else to do with it?”
Surely some of you out there have ringtones: Why did you do it? How much do you spend? Will you continue? Are you a satisfied customer? Explain it to me, please.