The rumoured iPhone ringtone approach – dubbed ‘sideloading’ – is expected to hit ringtone revenues hard.
In reaction, innovative ringtone services like ReVoice™ Singtones, from UK company Synchro Arts, are marketed to help ensure the iPhone’s arrival doesn’t signal the end of a lucrative industry.
Singtones let people record their favourite tracks, and their singing is then ‘fixed’ 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.
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 ringtones”.
Where Bud sees ‘peril’, Singtones creators’ boss, Jeff Bloom, senses an opportunity for the industry to be innovative.
‘The challenge now is for ringtone providers to deliver fun, distinctive and useful new concepts,’ says Bloom. ‘We’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.’