Downloading Ringtones

Category: Cool-Stuff

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...

download ringtones

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.

Free Ringtones?

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.

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Most recent comments on "Downloading Ringtones"

Posted by:

bill f
14 Jun 2007

I have an LG VX8300. My service is Verizon and I use Audacity to make a 30 second mp3 clip of a song I already own. I then e-mail it to myself using my cell number as the address. Example I can then save it as a ring tone on my phone. If you have texting as a feature, it is free. If not, there will be a charge for a text message.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Nice trick to email the MP3 to your phone, thanks!

Posted by:

14 Jun 2007

My gripe about all these systems is you still need to have internet service on your phone to receive the ringtone. With two kids and a family plan, I'm blocking internet because even accidentally they can run up the bill. In the forum at there are instructions on downloading ringtones directly to your phone from your PC, but it requires getting the MSL for your phone.

Basically, the cell companies are doing the razor blade thing again, give you the phone and cheap service then try to sell you all the extras.

Posted by:

14 Jun 2007

I have internet blocked on my family plan also. My experience with a downloaded ringtone scam taught me a lesson. Cingular wouldn't remove the charges from my bill and the third party vendor wouldn't remove them either, even after agreeing to do so. I ended up changing my phone number so that the third party vendor couldn't bill me.

Posted by:

19 Jun 2007

Many Nokia models can play MIDI files, transferred from the (Nokia) phone management software on your PC. This opens up a lot of possiblities as free MIDI files can be found in many places. You can also do a bit of editing if the start of the clip doesn't quite have the immediacy a good ring tone needs. While not as exciting to some demographic sectors as next week's hot new band, it fits well with other sectors (ie me) due to variety and obscure tones available.

My speciality FWIW is finding old TV themes from my childhood or teens that people at work _nearly_ remember until they just _have_ to ask. At present I have "Get Carter" and before that was "Beverley Hillbillies". Next on my nostalgia list is "Hogan's Heroes".

Posted by:

05 Aug 2007

You can use online ringtone maker to convert your music into custom ringtones.
It's easy and completely free.

Posted by:

06 Sep 2007

If you were charged on your cell phone bill for ringtones or other mobile content that you never authorized and/or you were sent unsolicited SMS text messages, you miight want to get in touch with some class action attorneys investigating unauthorized cell phone charges:

Posted by:

05 Jul 2008

can ANYONE tell me if getting free ring tones will cost me a penny???

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm sure there are some free ring tone scams. But try the sites I recommended.

Posted by:

26 Oct 2008

I have a desktop pc at home but I'm tired of paying fat internet subscription bill every month. Please is there any way I can stay connected to the internet without paying any bill?

EDITOR'S NOTE: You could hang out at a coffee shop or library with free wireless internet. Otherwise, no.

Posted by:

27 Nov 2008

That web page cool ringtones 4 free, is not free, the cost is 9.99 month charged to your phone. THANKS 4 nothing.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sorry, that's not true. I just verified that free ringtones can be downloaded directly from this site. However, there are quite a few ads on the site, and it's likely that you mistook one of them for the content on the site.

Posted by:

01 Dec 2008

This is the site I use to download music from my saved music. You can download the song to myxer, using the "make your own" tab. There you can custom size and send only what you want from your own music or sounds.

Myxer also has some sounds you can download for free. I have used it for a couple of years, downloading oldies songs that I can tie to my friends when they call. So check it out' it has no junk attached to it...and free.

Posted by:

Thomas Holub
10 Oct 2009

Ringtone craze is not a fad and is here to stay. Read my ringtones reviews here:

Posted by:

04 Nov 2009

Hey guys!
Look for this mp3 ringtones site . Very big collection!

Posted by:

Bob Ginn
23 Nov 2017

Thanks for the article on ringtones. I just saw it for the first time. My Samsung s7 can use my own music but I never knew to try it until this article came up.

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