Performing rights group BMI has released 2009 sales predictions for the mobile music market. The organization predicts ringback tones will amass more than $235 million in U.S. sales by the end of the year, representing 15% growth over the $205 million collected last year and 68% more than the 2007 figure of $140 million.

BMI also estimates about 10 million U.S. mobile phone users currently subscribe for a ringback tone service, with an industry-wide average market penetration of about 4%. On a per-carrier basis, BMI estimates penetration rates are between 2% and 9%, depending on the carrier.

After years of massive growth in the ringtone market, BMI has stopped predicting sales and revenue figures for the format after it posted negative results for the past two years.