Blowin’ Up: Black Music, Ringtones and a New Paradigm
Red Herring is on to something. So are these folks in the South. The hip hop that you think you see is already morphing into a new vehicle for revenue generation.
“I had people at Jive tell me they didn’t believe in my product and let me know that they didn’t too much care,” he said at the time. “But selling 6.7 million ringtones (for “Stripper” and another single, “I’m Sprung,” combined) changed their minds.“
Since then, T-Pain has charted 12 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, five of which were in the top 10, and sophomore effort “Epiphany” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Yet T-Pain was still surprised when lightning struck twice, with “Drank” moving similar ringtone sales.
“I didn’t know any song could generate ringtone sales like that,” he said. “I didn’t think the ringtone game could be so essential to the industry.”
The music industry is changing again. The iPod has had a tremendous impact on the power of labels to determine distribution. Ringtones – those annoying noises that invade meetings and subway rides are also impacting this industry in ways not foreseen by the experts – but a few years ago, Sean Combs was invited to address a national tech audience because they recognized that while Black youth were not using computers to the same degree as other US youth, they were using cell phones and other technology is ways that generated revenue (I’ll have to dig up that link.) Well, the number are in. 6.7 million ringtones for two tracks…