updated 10/28/2004 4:35:30 PM ET 2004-10-28T20:35:30

Back at No. 1 for the 29th straight week, it's everybody's favorite ringtone.

The music market tracker Billboard will begin ranking the customized mobile phone sound snippets beginning next week -- another sign that ringtones are fast becoming a staple of recording industry sales.

As it does with other music sales data, Billboard will publish the top 20 ringtones purchased for each week.

Included in the chart will be the song title, artist, previous week's ranking and number of weeks on the chart.

The sales data will be tabulated from ringtone distributors and wireless firms representing more than 90 percent of the market, including Zingy, AG Interactive and Dwango Wireless.

The inclusion of ringtones in Billboard reflects the growing impact sales of wireless content are having on the music industry, particularly song publishers and artists, who often own rights to the songs on which many ringtones are based.

Record companies, who typically own rights to original song recordings, are also benefiting as more powerful handsets enter the market and demand for CD-quality "truetones" increases.

The global mobile entertainment market is estimated to be worth around $3.1 billion, with the United States accounting for more than $300 million, according to mobile market research firm Consect.

Most of the revenues are generated by ringtone sales.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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