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Will We Move from RBT?

~my first English post after a while


This is the truth of the musical industry today. The number of music download for the first time exceeded 1 billion in 2008, a landmark of its own in the age of crisis, including in music industry. But CD sales dropped for about 40% in the same year. (read here)

Indonesia by far is not maintaining its music industry by mere CD sales because the number of album sales was never high in the country. Piracy, however, is the significant factor of the low CD sales. But in recent years, the business of ring back tones (RBT) is increasing in Indonesia. Actually this RBT sales is the main, if not sole, contributor of Indonesia’s digital music business.

But that is the deal we are facing here. Can we develop our digital music business to other means besides RBT?

What is suprising your writer is that, when one tried to search about ring back tones by inputing ring backtone or ring back tone to Google search engine, the majority of the sites found is more or less Indonesian sites. This is quite the reality. Ring back tones is only popular in Indonesia.

Ring back tones business is developed exactly after Indonesia’s mobile telecommunication boom. Although RBT was not meant to be the real communication business, it has developed to be one of the profitable businesses in its own, especially in Indonesia.


Ring back tones’ success in Indonesia is more or less because of the significant development of the supporting facilities in mobile technology which is expanding its business rigorously in these recent years. 

Eventhough Indonesian government keeps on developing the infrastucture for internet access, still internet is still quite foreign for Indonesians, especially if we are talking about music download and business. Access to internet is stil luxury goods for most Indonesians.

Luckily, mobile technology is growing more rapid than fixed line technology. This helps quite a fortune in widening the access of information, and in time urges the development of internet access.

Easy and cheap internet access is still a long way to go. So, for the time being digital music business in Indonesia will depend on RBT business. And with the preeminent piracy activities, building digital music business will be a major work to be done. But, it is worth while, isn’t it?



About mikebm (1339 Articles)
An arts journalist, a conductor, an educator, a young arts manager whose passion drove him to leave a multinational IT cooperation to study Arts Administration and Cultural Policy in London and went back to Indonesia to build the scene there.

2 Comments on Will We Move from RBT?

  1. thank you for summarizing a sub chapter on my skripsi, hahahaha. but it was rather a hurry conclusion to point technology development as the main driver. sadly, rbt actually really reflects our narcism and our egoism to make people hear something that they don’t want to hear.

  2. hahahaha…. egoism… so true…

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