The cell phone industry was taken by storm with the creation of ring tones, a musical telephone ring that almost exactly resembled the actual song of many popular artists. Of the biggest consumer audience of these ring tones are teenagers, and they're using the ring tones, often sold from $.99 to $4.99 a piece, to achieve a level of personalization and individuality. Many teens personalize their cell phones in the same way they would personalize their bedroom: the have colored and patterned skins, cases, charms, wallpapers, screensavers, and perhaps the most personalizing of them all: the ring tone.
It is these same teens, as well, that are truly creating the market that the big mega-conglomerate companies abide by. Many of the major executives of these companies turn directly to their own children, in addition to focus groups and consumer surveys, to determine exactly what the demand is for. In the early 2000's, the demand was for more realistic sounding ring tones, or rings that sounded almost exactly like the song, instead of a simple series of beeps and tones resembling the song. Because of this demand, now, you would be hard-pressed to find a teen with a monotone ring tone on their phone!
Another phenomenon that teens dictated to the cell phone companies was the ability to assign a ring tone to each individual caller. If the phone rings to Jessica Simpson when one caller calls, and Britney Spears when another calls, the teen is able to distinguish exactly who is calling by ring tone alone. When cell phone providers started making this option standard on most phones, another surge in ring tone sales was observed. Instead of buying one ring tone for $2.99, teens were buying packages of 5 or 6 for $10 to $15.
Today, the most popular ring tones, as you might have guessed are pop songs. Whatever is topping the charts is topping the ring tone charts as well. In an all-encompassing effort to make things easier, consumers no longer need to buy credits and allocate them to tones, as they used to. Most companies now offer the ability to buy a tone individually for a flat rate, making ring tone purchasing effortless and quick.