AT&T on Thursday released a list of the Top 10 most downloaded ringtones, revealing that mobile users are hungry for music by popular artists instead of polyphonic sounds created specifically for cell phones.
Worldwide end-user spending on mobile music will reach $32.2 billion by 2010, up from $13.7 billion this year, according to research firm Gartner. While the growth in ringtone revenue is starting to slow, realtones are becoming the "cash cow" for carriers, the research firm said.
Realtones, also referred to as true tones and music tones, are snippets of real songs that are used as ringtones. Polyphonic ringtones, on the other hand, are versions of songs made with a synthesizer and intended to play on any cell phone.
Apple last week added the capability to allow users to create their own ringtones in GarageBand and export them to the iPhone. Users can choose songs from their iTunes library to create ringtones.
End users are expected to spend a total of $6.9 billion worldwide on polyphonic and monophonic ringtones next year, which is a decrease from $7.1 billion this year. Spending on full tracks, realtones, and ringback tones -- meaning customized music that plays when people ring a number -- will increase to $12.3 billion next year, up from $6.6 billion this year, Gartner forecasted.
AT&T's Top 10 list revealed that out of the 40,000 ringtones it offers, the most popular ones are the carrier's music tones.
They are as follows:
AT&T's ringtones cost $2.49 each. Customers also can sign up for MyMedia Club to get credits that can be redeemed for ringtones, graphics, and games. Packages start at $6 a month.
To bring out holiday spirit in customers, AT&T also is offering customers songs of the season as ringtones free of charge. To obtain a holiday ringtone, customers should send a text message with the word "gift" to the number 7230.