MTN Faces Another Nigerian Fine: $56M For Ring-Back Tone Copyright Infringement
Dial a random phone number in Nigeria and you’re more likely to hear music than a standard repetitive ring.
That’s because ring-back tones are the hottest consumer trend in Nigeria, where they sell for $0.25 per month, CNN reported.
A ring-back tone is a musical selection, picked by the owner of a mobile phone, that plays when their number is dialed. When the call is answered, the music stops and the talking starts.
The tones were popular in the U.S. years ago, and they have since caught on in markets around the world including China.
Ring-back tones are more than a trend, said Audu Maikori, founder of music production house Chocolate City. They providing a vital new funding source to an industry devastated by digital piracy. Sales are growing fast, and the tones now make up roughly 10 percent of his company’s revenue.
Telecoms are also benefiting. MTN, the largest telecom in Africa, now sells up to $80 million a year in ring-back tones, CNN reported.
“Everybody wants to be cool, and music is cool… it’s an aspirational thing,” said Herman Singh, executive for digital at MTN, in a CNN interview. “What we’ve found as music comes out that’s cool and vibey, people just attach that to their own personal brand.”
But MTN could be fined 16 billion naira ($56.6 million US) for failing to pay royalties on ring-back tones in a music copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the Copyright Society of Nigeria, ITPulse reported. Read the full story here: