Brainfood: It'll never fly - Mobile Ringtones

If Alexander Graham Bell had known his invention would one day announce itself with a motorbike noise from the mouth of a frog, he would have despaired. But these days, individuality is hot currency, and at £1.50 a pop, there's a buck to be made in helping people personalise their mobiles.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Just ask Jamster. The ringtone provider has made an estimated £10 million from people who, for reasons unknown to us, choose to advertise their personality through the 'Crazy Frog' ringtone. Since 1998, when Finnish operator Radiolinja launched the first mono-ringtones for Nokia, developments in polyphonic sound and true tones have sent sales rocketing. The UK market alone is set to hit £132 million this year. Informa Media predicts ringtones will make up 12% of music sales by 2008. This popularity is reflected in the Mobile Entertainment Forum's official ringtone chart, which boasts the Peter Kay-driven Amarillo as its most successful download - at number one for seven weeks. Ring-back tones, the noise a caller hears while waiting for an answer, are also flashing pound signs. A hit in Korea, they've earned SK Telecom more than £60 million and are now making inroads here.

So the drive towards individuality continues. To quote the chanting masses in Monty Python's Life of Brian: 'Yes, we are all different.' But that's not available as a ringtone. Yet.

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