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Ringtones for Cell Phones

Cell Phone Ringtones

You can download ringtones for your cell phone, but be cautious of, so called, free ringtones because they may contain spyware.

Introduced around 1990, ringtones offer cell phone users the ability to customize your own cell phone ring. Anything from Mozart to P. Diddy, the amount of songs and tunes available are infinite. You can program your cell phone to play classical, hip hop, rap, jazz, country, pop or whatever. You don’t even have to have music, you can have a recording of a person’s voice saying, “Answer the phone, your phone is ringing.” A ringtone says something about the owner, showing the public “This is what I like, this is who I am.” By having built-in video games, specialized background pictures, switchable faceplates and, of course, customizable ringtones, you are able to give your phone a personality of its own, and show a bit of yours.

In addition, users are able to program multiple tones, adding an identity to your caller by what song is playing. For example, if your spouse calls you, you’ll hear a song that reminds you of them, or maybe a song that was playing when something special happened between the two of you. If your mom calls, you’ll hear her favorite song. A friend might be recognizable by a rap or hip hop song. Or if your job calls, you’ll know not to answer the phone! The possibilities are endless.

Music Ringtones Boosting Sales of the Recording Industry

The recording industry is undergoing a vital change thanks to customers who want to download ringtones. A once financially depressed industry, thanks do the decline of CD sales, illegal online file-sharing, and CD burning, the recording industry is now boosting sales by releasing songs available to download. Consumers are now able to purchase ringtones of their favorite bands or artists, ring-back tones, as well as music-related messaging and computer desktop wallpaper. Ringtone sales account for more than 10% of the record industry, bringing in millions of dollars.

Funny Ringtones

Newer phones are also able to record and playback MP3 ringtones, giving users a wide variety to choose from (not to mention having an MP3 player and phone in-one). The ringtones are not just a 30 second snippet of a song. You are able to have many music options, such as a full single, albums, and music videos. Record labels are even releasing new singles to ringtones before they are available to radio stations and for pubic purchase! Some go as far as to only releasing them to cell phone users.

Using ringtones is a great way to introduce a cell phone user to a new song, whether it is a new artist or a mainstream one. Some new artists are able to promote their songs by having friends use them as a ringtone; someone hears it and says “Hey what band is that? They’re great! I want to buy their CD.” The airplay of cell phones ringing in pubic places like schools, the mall, city blocks, and parties are helping drive sales. Music executives love that ringtones serve as a marketing tool - it’s a commercial and promotional product in one.

Why would I want to download a ringtone?

Besides being able to distinguish your own phone’s ring from other phones ringing around you, ringtones offer you individuality and personality. You can download as many ringtones as you want and can change them daily, depending on your mood. You can even assign different ringtones to different incoming numbers, so you know who’s calling without even looking at your phone. Some new phones let you record songs and voice messages for ringtones yourself, giving you infinite possibilities.

How do I get a ringtone?

If your cell phone is already ringtone-capable, you should have a range of notes stored in the memory. There are also a variety of sources for downloading ringtones from the internet. Generally, this means checking out ringtone sites on the internet and finding which tone is right for you and your phone. Some sites charge to download ringtones, to cover song royalties, while other sites provide free ones. Typically, older songs (such as classical pieces) have been around long enough that their copyright has expired. This means that they’ve been in the public domain, so they’re free for anybody to use.

Once you’ve found the tone you want, enter your phone number, and let the site administrators send the message to your phone directly. If you have internet access on your cell phone, you can download ringtones directly and have them ready in about a minute. Older phones, without internet access, are sent to your phone as a text message. Some phones may use one particular method exclusively, but a lot of phones have multiple options for users. Check your instruction manual to find the method for you.

What is a “ringback”?

A ringback is a song you can program your phone to play when you are calling someone, or when they are calling you. Instead of the normal ringing sound, when you make a call, you will hear a song or melody.

Ringtone Terminology

Ringtones and the technology surrounding them have created a wealth of new terminology. Below is a list of common expressions and their meanings.

The Basics

  • Monophonic Ringtones: Play one note at a time, imitating the melody of a song. Early cell phones were only capable of producing very simple ringtones, only generating one beep or tone at a time.
  • Polyphonic Ringtones: Play several notes simultaneously, being able to synthesize various instruments (such as drums, guitar, keyboard), giving the ringtone a much richer sound.

Real Ringtones, Real Music

Real Ringtones

Ringtones have brought a new category to the music business, brining in millions of dollars a year. They even have their own Billboard chart

  • MP3 Ringtones: Users with compatible cell phones can download MP3 files from their computers onto their cell phones through special software. Be cautious though, because MP3 ringtones use clips of the actual songs. There are copyright issues involved.
  • Mastertones, Ringtone Masters, Truetones, Realtones, Music Tones, Real Ringtones, and Musitones: Terms used to describe a more sophisticated type of ringtone which uses clips of real songs taken from studio recordings. These require a license from the record label. Each company has their own name for the phrase: Sony calls them “Mastertones”, V2 calls them “Realtones”, Silva Screen Records calls them “Real Ringtones”, Warner Music calls them “Ringtone Masters”, Cingular calls them “Music Tones, and Musiwave calls them “Musitones”.
  • MegaTones: Similar to Mastertones, it allows Personal Communication Service (PCS) users to customize the ringtone.
  • Ear Phones technology: Provided in Germany’s T-Mobile handsets, enables users to download three CD-quality tracks to their phone.
  • Covers and Sound-alikes: Becoming more popular in the ringtones industry, mainly because they do NOT require any license from the record labels.
Download Free Ringtones

Real Sounds, Funny Ring Tones

  • Sound Ringtones, Special Effects, Sound FX: These play clips of everyday common sounds, from sound effects to funny noises. Popular sounds include vomiting, burping, farting, or more jarring sounds include police sirens, machine guns, or a baby crying.
  • Animal Ringtones: Play animal sounds, anything from cows mooing, to wolf cries, to dolphins playing.
  • Voices: Sounds of real voices, which may include celebrities, political figures or comics. Some sites even offer “name ringers” which are a collection of ringtones made for people with common names (Jeanne …Jeanne...Jeanne…Oh, Jeanne…Pick up the phone).

Be Cautious When You Download Free Ringtones

Download Free Ringtones

Although it is tempting to download free mp3 ringtones and other sounds, be cautious. Free ringtone sites are notorious for bombarding computers with spyware and pop-up ads or requests to upgrade to a paid version. In fact, beware of any free programs you might download…there is a reason the software is free!

Don’t install anything without knowing exacting what you’re getting. Always read the end-users license agreement (EULAs) carefully before you click the “agree” button. Some EULAs will actually tell you they are installing third party software that will be monitoring your computer. These devices allow vendors to snoop on your computer, add toolbars to your web browsers, monitor your internet browsing patterns, and install those ever so annoying pop-up ads.

Protect yourself against spyware by knowing exactly what you are getting. Make sure your browser settings are stringent enough to protect you. If you use Internet Explorer, your security settings for the Internet Zone should be at least medium. And always deny the browser permission to install any ActiveX control you have not requested.

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