Will unveil chart this summer.

Billboard will this summer unveil a new Hot MasterTones chart, ranking the best selling master ringtones in the United States. The tally will track ringtones that play a segment of an original recording, rather than a synthesized instrumental version of a hit song.

The announcement was made yesterday (April 3) by John Kilcullen, president and publisher of Billboard Information Group, and Geoff Mayfield, Billboard's director of charts, at Billboard MECCA 2006, the official CTIA mobile entertainment conference in Las Vegas.

The 20-position Hot MasterTones chart will be based on data from a comprehensive sample tabulated by Nielsen Mobile, a division of Nielsen Entertainment. The chart will list song title, artist, previous week's position and number of weeks on the chart.

The Hot MasterTones chart joins Billboard's Hot Ringtones chart, launched two years ago to track the polyphonic and monophonic ringtones market.

According to the performance rights organization BMI, it is estimated that that the overall U.S. ringtone market (master and polyphonic ringtones) accounted for $500 million in 2005 and will grow to $600 million this year. Globally, Billboard estimates that master and polyphonic ringtone products accounted for $4.4 billion in 2005, up from $3.7 billion the previous year. That growth that was fueled by master ringtones.

"Just as polyphonic ringtones had come to represent revenue growth for the music industry at the time Billboard launched the Hot Ringtones chart in 2004, master ringtones have emerged as a major driver in the mobile music market, as well as a product that lines up additional music delivery channels," says Mayfield.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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