Until recently, when younger music fans thought of ringtones, they usually thought of hip-hop ringtones. This is not surprising given the genre's wide acceptance of ringtones and cell phones and such smash chart crashers as 50-Cent ringtones, Snoop Dogg ringtones, and Lil Kim ringtones.
But ringtone operators are now starting to see the value in Latin ringtones, especially in the urban Hispanic market -- one often referred to as "hurban" by marketers. The market for Latin ringtones is exploding in Mexico, Central America, and South America, and major Latin acts are beginning to reach the coveted Billboard Ringtone Charts.
Latin ringtones may be the lone remaining untapped pot of gold for ringtone sellers. "'The Ketchup Song', by Las Ketchup was on our top ten list," said Bob Bentz, director of marketing at Ringingphone. "Then, there's the traditional cross-over ringtones like Ricky Martin's 'Livin' La Vida Loca' and Los Del Rio's 'Macarena' that are consistent sellers. We have good sellers with Juan Gabriel ringtones, Selena ringtones, and Marc Anthony ringtones, but, for the most part, our business is still mainly about rap ringtones and hip-hop ringtones. But, we like the opportunities in the Hispanic market and continue to expand our offerings."
Bentz has reason to be excited. It is a well-known fact that the market for ringtones has been driven by teens and young adults. According to the US Census Bureau, Hispanics will be the largest teen minority group by next year and will be twenty percent of the overall American teen population in 2015. Moreover, Hispanics, according to Forrester Research, tend to buy more multi-media capable phones and replace their handsets more frequently. Hispanics are also larger spenders on cell phones with monthly bills $10 higher than the national average. Twelve percent of Hispanics use mobile data services like ringtones compare to only seven percent, according to the Forrester report.
So, the next time you hear a ringtone, it may have a Latin flavor to it.