R&B and hip-hop's place in the digital-music world fueled panel discussions during the second day of the fifth annual Billboard/American Urban Radio Networks R&B/Hip-Hop Conference yesterday (

R&B and hip-hop's place in the digital-music world fueled panel discussions during the second day of the fifth annual Billboard/American Urban Radio Networks R&B/Hip-Hop Conference yesterday (Aug. 6). The conference, which kicked off Aug. 4 at the Eden Roc Resort in Miami Beach, ends today.

During the "Digitally Speaking" session, evidence of R&B/hip-hop's drawing power was revealed by Mark Frieser, CEO of consulting firm Consect. Based on 85% of all sales reported by ringtone distributors, R&B/hip-hop averages 56% of the burgeoning ringtone market. Yearly revenue for the market is estimated at $300 million, so R&B/hip-hop music would account for more than a $150 million slice of the pie.

Panelist Jay Frank, who oversees artist & label relations for Launch/Yahoo, said R&B is especially "missing the boat" when it comes to his and other sites. "R&B independent labels don't realize the impact and lost business opportunities that are out here. There's a huge R&B audience dying for music [in digital forms]."

During the earlier "Music, Camera, Action!" panel, discussion centered on the prospering marriage between music and film, TV/cable, DVD and video games. Predicted Jeff Clanagan, president of Urban Works Entertainment, "You will see more convergence of the different mediums [in stores]. Instead of being segregated, DVDs and music CDs are being placed together. Best Buy is already doing it."

Rounding out the day were the ASCAP-sponsored "Super Producers Panel," featuring Teddy Riley, Cool & Dre and the Platinum Brothers, and the AURN-presented radio airplay session, "Let's Get It On."

Mathew Knowles, president of Music World Entertainment/Sanctuary Urban Holding Company, is today's keynote speaker. The final panel session will be "The Gospel According to Urban," moderated by noted gospel specialist Dr. Bobby Jones. Capping the conference is the fourth annual R&B/Hip-Hop Awards Show at Fifteen O One Barton G, featuring Brian McKnight, "American Idol" finalist Tamyra Gray and Lil' Scrappy, among others.