In addition to the popularity surge in ring tones, another immensely popular personalization product is the ring back tone. The premise is simple: when a caller calls the cell phone, instead of hearing the traditional ringing sound, the caller hears a popular song. When the answerer picks up, the song stops.
When market analysts first suggested the idea of a ring back tone in the late 1990's, company executives were skeptical. However, teen focus groups and consumer surveys indicated that this was a product they would be interested, and cell phone providers started offering the service. Teen dollars spoke for themselves, and ring back tones surged in popularity. In the early 2000's, industry analysts predicted that ring back tones would be a 2.5 billion dollar industry.
Ring back tones experienced a staggering growth in popularity for the same reasons traditional ring tones did: the personalization market. As teens, the major target consumers for ring tones and ring back tones, strive to achieve a level of personalization, they customize their cell phone skin, carrying case, add charms, download wallpapers, and purchase ring tones. However, when teenagers expressed a desire to have individual tones associated with individual people, ring tones, as well as ring back tones achieved a new level of popularity. Instead of choosing one ring back tone that every caller would hear, teens said they wanted a song associated with every individual caller. The industry responded and allowed for ring back tone to be purchased in bundles: 5 for $15 or 8 for $20. With consumers now purchasing ring back tones in bulk, the industry made huge strides in reshaping the whole cell phone personalization market.