Demystifying Ring Tones and Their Popularity

By: Grigoriy Anoshenko

What are the different ways in which you can be told that someone wants to talk to you? I would say heaps. Indefinite may be a more definite answer probably. And I couldn't be wrong with the incessantly growing popularity of mobile phone ring tones. So what is it about mobile phone ring tones that's making it tick....or rather ring well with the masses?

Fancy mobile phone ring tones don't just inform the caller of an incoming call, but go much beyond and make a style statement. What your phone plays, says a lot about who you are. And with teenagers, and young adults forming a big chunk of the mobile phone users market, mobile phone ring tones have become trendsetters. It's no longer just 'new' phone models, fancy covers, and phone accessories that are helping this relatively young audience to communicate with the world around them. It is what their phone sounds like that plays a pivotal role in telling people around them what is their taste.

Market analysts seem to agree on the psychographics of this group. The quest for mobile phone ring tones seems to be almost insatiable because ring tones are an easy (and fairly entertaining) solution to a common problem that plagues this group. And the problem is of self expression. Answering questions such as "How can I show off how cool I am?", "How can I make a strong style statement?", "How can I express my individuality, personal preferences, and taste in music?" It's always the 'I, Me, and Myself' that's most important.

The popularity of mobile phone ring tones can also be attributed to the need for increasing product differentiation with the growing mass acceptance of mobile phones. Manufacturers are constantly fighting it out with one another to release handsets with 'new' and 'unique' features into the markets every few months. And price is no longer a very strong differentiator because they are no longer in a position to dictate the cost of bundling new features. Consumers expect a certain standard and with the vast variety of choices available, they are in a strong position to negotiate. As well said by researchers, there is only that much of feature bundling that can happen at a certain price, and therefore it becomes extremely important for manufacturers to constantly upgrade on their current offering. Mobile phone ring tones have already undergone a lot of technological innovation from the time they first appeared on the circuit, and with scope for more still, it is not a surprise that they are manufacturer's favourite choice for upgradation.

The increasing popularity of mobile phone ring tones is only just getting better with capitalist marketers and media planners having found within it an innovative media opportunity. Advertisers are delivering campaigns right into the hands of the target audience's hands by releasing mobile phone ring tones that are akin to the jingles associated with the brand and campaign. Daily soaps have their popular OST's now being adapted to suit mobile phone ring tones.

Apart from the manufacturer and consumer, there are a variety of players involved in fine tuning the future of mobile phone ring tones, and therefore, any attempts to curb the craze would be futile.

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