Billboard will honor the top ringtone of the year at their annual award show to be held next Wednesday (Dec. 8) in Las Vegas, according to the magazine.
Rappers 50 Cent, Jay-Z, and Andre 3000 of Outkast will battle for the honor, which is based on sales tracked by the new Billboard Hot Ringtone Chart.
“In Da Club” and “P.I.M.P.” give 50 the early advantage as the G-Unit front man has two nominations to Jay-Z (“Dirt Off Your Shoulder”) and Dre’s one (“Hey Ya!”).
Ringtone sales have exploded in past years as recording artists have struck exclusive deals with cellular phone companies. Eminem’s latest set, Encore, featured a promotional ringtone as a part of the album’s deluxe edition. Sprint PCS has also began heavily promoting its BlingTones, which feature original compositions by hip-hop producers.
And now Billboard is charting the sales of the special rings, as well as awarding the top sellers.
“We’re thrilled to be the first awards show to recognize the best-selling ringtone in the U.S.,” Billboard Publisher John Kilcullen said in a statement. “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 2004 Billboard Music Awards will air live next Wednesday on Fox.