The ringtone craze started in Finland back in 1998 with a monophonic commercial ringtone service called Harmonium. The popularity of ringtones quickly spread throughout Europe and then into Asia. The U.S. was late to catch hold of this craze, however, today the U.S. is one of the fastest growing ringtone consumer markets in the world. Here's how to download or create your own ringtone...
Buying a Ringtone
In 2004 the international gross receipts for custom ringtone sales was somewhere over $4 billion dollars, and one can only assume that number has risen dramatically since then. While these figures are astonishing they only represent about a tenth of the overall music sales receipts for the world. This means that ringtones have some growing room, and the music industry is pushing to raise both their overall music sales and their ringtone sales in order to recapture some of the income that they have lost over the years to pirating and illegal downloads.
Ringtones are popular in a variety of demographics. However, the majority of the sales for custom ringtones are being made to teens and pre-teens. This sales trend most likely is due to the custom ringtones that now play real music clips from some of the most popular musical artists like Gnarls Barkley, Black Eyed Peas and the Pussy Cat Dolls.
Most mobile phone service providers are happy to sell you ring tones that you can download right from your phone. Ringtones will typically cost $2 and upwards, but watch out for hidden subscriptions. You might think you're buying a single ring tone, but some services sign you up for a monthly charge if you don't read the agreements carefully.
If you can't afford to buy a custom ringtone, or if you don't want to subscribe to a ringtone service, then you do have the option of visiting a free ringtone site and downloading a free ringtone. The sites that offer free ringtones usually make their money through click thru, pay per click and pay per view advertisements. However, some also offer premium ringtones that bring in revenue for the company. A few that I found are Cool Free Ringtones and Ringtones 4 All.
Or you can record your own, right on your phone. My Motorola RAZR has a built-in feature that lets you record a sound clip, save it, and use it as a ringtone. I'm pretty sure most modern phones can do this as well. If you want to use a clip from your favorite song, just play the song on your PC or CD player, then use your phone to record the clip. Instant free ringtone!
Upload Ringtones From Your PC to Your Cell Phone
There are several ways that you can transfer ringtones from your PC to your cell phone. The first way is to buy ringtone creation software like Roxio's Xingtone Ringtone Maker (about US$20) or MAGIX's Ringtone Maker. When you use ringtone creation software you will transfer your ringtone file from your PC using an over-the-air transfer process that is cable free, or use an online transfer system that sends the audio file to your cell phone via the Internet.
You can also use software and a USB cable (or Bluetooth connection) to transfer ringtone files from your PC directly to your mobile phone handset. The Mobile Action Handset Manager kit can be purchased from a variety of vendors for about US$30.
Ringtone Scams and Precautionary Tales
While the popularity of ringtones has steadily been increasing over the last several years, several scams have hurt the industry's growth potential. One of the biggest problems that people have faced after downloading a supposedly free or complimentary ringtone is that they are subscribed to a ringtone subscription without their knowledge or permission.
Many of the ringtone scams target kids and teens. Parent don't realize that their child's cell phone has the subscription until they get their phone bill and notice unauthorized charges ranging from several to several hundred dollars. In the past most of the cell phone carriers simply refused to help customers who were slammed or scammed by fraudulent ringtone subscriptions. However, tougher communication laws have required cell phone carriers to use more restrictive service charge authorization processes, which has helped to reduce unauthorized ringtone subscription frauds.
And of course, always be careful when downloading anything from the Internet. Look for reliable sites, check them out with a bit of Googling, and use anti-virus and anti-spyware protection to protect your computer.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 12 Jun 2007
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Downloading Ringtones (Posted: 12 Jun 2007)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved