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[12/03/04 - 12:00 AM]
Ringtone of the Year' to Be Awarded for First Time at 'The 2004 Billboard Music Awards' Wednesday, December 8, on Fox

[via press release from FOX]

"RINGTONE OF THE YEAR" TO BE AWARDED FOR FIRST TIME AT "THE 2004 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS" WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, ON FO

"Dirt off Your Shoulder" (Jay-Z), "In Da Club" (50 Cent), "Hey Ya!" (OutKast) and "P.I.M.P." (50 Cent) Are Finalists in Category Honoring the Most Downloaded Ringtone of the Year

THE 2004 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS has announced finalists in the new "Ringtone of the Year" category, scheduled to be honored for the first time this year live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 8 (8:00-10:00 PM ET Live/PT Tape-Delayed) on FOX.

In recognition of the growing importance of ringtone downloads, Billboard has created the "Ringtone of the Year" award, honoring the ringtone that has achieved the most legal downloads over the Internet, to be awarded during the live broadcast of THE 2004 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS.

The finalists are:

Ringtone of the Year (by artist)
"In Da Club," 50 Cent
"P.I.M.P.," 50 Cent
"Dirt off Your Shoulder," Jay-Z
"Hey Ya!," OutKast

The new award was determined by year-to-date sales reported by ringtone merchants AG Interactive, Dwango Wireless, Infospace Mobile, 9Squared and Zingy, which comprise more than 60 percent of the U.S. market. Those companies and three other aggregators comprise the panel that informs Billboard's weekly Hot Ringtones chart, which joined the magazine's pages in October.

"We're thrilled to be the first awards show to recognize the best-selling ringtone in the U.S.," says John Kilcullen, president of the VNU Music and Literary Group and publisher of Billboard. "Billboard has long been synonymous with measuring the popularity of music. This award recognizes the growth of the cell phone as a digital commerce platform for music consumption and will be a staple of our awards show for years to come."

The launch of the Hot Ringtones chart has fetched far-flung attention from the press, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," numerous local newspapers, and even radio shows in Tokyo, Japan and Melbourne, Australia.

Compiled by Consect, a leading consultant in the mobile entertainment space, Billboard's new chart has been endorsed by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Assn. and the Mobile Entertainment Forum.

The BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS recognizes the year's leading artists and songs as determined by actual performance on Billboard's weekly charts. The show celebrates the record-buying, Internet downloading and radio-listening public's favorite songs, albums and performers, creating a true souvenir of the year in music.

Based on sales data compiled by Nielsen SoundScan, radio information monitored by Nielsen Broadcast systems, and mobile entertainment data from Consect, Billboard's music charts are the world's most authoritative. Winners are determined by the 2004 year-end charts, which reflect the weekly charts that Billboard published from December 2003 through November 2004.

Now in its 110th year, Billboard is the world's premier music industry publication and a diverse digital, events and brand-licensing platform. Billboard publishes the most trusted charts and offers unrivaled reporting about the latest music, video and digital entertainment issues and trends. Billboard is the flagship property for the Billboard Information Group, which also consists of Billboard.biz, Billboard.com, Billboard Chart Alert, Billboard Information Network (BIN), Billboard Directories, Billboard Licensing & Events and Billboard Radio Monitor. The Group is a unit of VNU Business Media, a worldwide media company that provides specialized publications, electronically delivered data, expositions and marketing services and is owned by VNU Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Netherlands-based VNU, an international publishing and information company.

MGM Grand, "The City of Entertainment" in Las Vegas, features 5,034 guest rooms and suites, a state-of-the-art gaming complex, world-class entertainment venues, signature restaurants owned by celebrity chefs and the $100-million Conference Center for meetings/conventions all centrally located on the Las Vegas Strip. For room availability and information about the MGM Grand, call (800) 929-1111 or (702) 891-7777 or log onto www.mgmgrand.com.

Bob Bain returns for his ninth year as executive producer of the BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS. Greg Sills will serve as supervising producer. Paul Flattery and Michael Levitt are producers. Bruce Gowers is the show's director and Wylleen May is the executive in charge of production.





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