There has been a big conflict brewing up lately ever since the launch of the iPhone. iPhone users can get a song through iTunes for $.99, add on a few pennies, and eventually get a ringtone for under $2. This is great because iTunes has tons of songs from every artist imaginable, and converting songs to ringtones is just as easy.
But other mobile operators such as T-Mobile, Verizon, etc. currently charge upwards of $2.5-3 per ringtone. With the lower costs that the iPhone offers, you can be sure that there isn’t a lot of love lost between At&T (iPhone’s exclusive carrier), Apple, and T-Mobile, Verizon.
The idea, they accuse, is to force the loyal Verizon and T-Mobile user to the slower, more cumbersome AT&T network. The feature packed iPhone was one big reason for the switch, but with cheaper ringtones, the reasons appear to have increased manifold.
If you look at the American music market, you’ll find that the share of ringtones in the revenue of music companies has been increasing steadily over the years, even as revenue from album sales goes down. Some pundits even argue that over time, musicians will derive revenue only through concert ticket sales, while music companies get their money from ringtone and MP3 sales. The way the current trends are going, this doesn’t sound very inconceivable or difficult to achieve.
Coming back to ringtones, paying for each and every ringtone on a per ringtone basis seems counter-productive and terribly expensive. Most people like to switch between ringtones from time to time. Therefore, many companies are coming up with monthly subscription models that let you download as many ringtones as you want without bothering to pay per ringtone. For heavy users, this can lead to savings of hundreds of dollars an year!