Personalized ringtones have an undeniable appeal. Even as the economy barely sputters along, cell phone users are using more personalized ringtones than ever before. Many are turning to free ringtone websites and new technology to get their ringtones for free.
- What are the advantages of having a personalized ringtone?
- How can I get free ringtones?
- Where can I buy ringtones?
What are the advantages of having a personalized ringtone?
Custom ringtones are popular because they�re practical, entertaining, and offer an opportunity for personal expression.
- Avoiding confusion Unique ringtones help avoid confusion about whose telephone is ringing. In the early days of impersonal cell phones, one ringing phone would prompt a roomful of business executives to reach for their phones. The resulting sense of slight foolishness became avoidable in 1996 when custom ringtones were made commercially available.
- Distinguishing between callers Personalized ringtones not only indicate which phone is ringing, but also let cell phone users identify their callers without even looking at the phone. Since different ringtones are assigned to different callers, it�s easy to hear the difference between your date from last night, your boss, and Uncle Bob.
- Adding fun and personality A customized ringtone puts a little pep in your day, and it also tells people a bit about you. You can set a ringtone from your favorite musical, show your Irish pride with a Celtic tune, or relive the arcade days with a Ms. Pac Man MIDI.
How can I get free ringtones?
With a bit of sleuthing and practice, you can learn to make ringtones of your own MP3s and CDs for free. Many websites also let you upload audio files and very easily convert them to ringtones. Some allow you to import songs from YouTube videos too. If you don�t already have the song you�d like to use, you might obtain the desired free ringtone through a contest or a free ringtone website.
- Make your own ringtones. People have been making their own ringtones since 1996, which is when the Japanese company DoCoMo released the Digital Minimo D319 cell phone with a built-in ringtone composer.
Nowadays, cell phone users can compose anything from a simple MIDI to a multi-track ringtone in MP3 format. In some cases, this can be accomplished with software that was factory-installed on the phone. However, no specific cell phone model is needed; free ringtone software and composition guides are readily available online. Here are three sites to help you get started:
- Wired Magazine contributor Eliot Van Buskirk provides an online tutorial for moving an MP3 file or CD track to your cell phone for free. The procedure requires a cell phone that supports MP3 files, a CD track or MP3 file to transfer, and a means of transferring the audio file to the phone. (This could be a USB port, a Bluetooth device, e-mail or instant message.) Van Buskirk recommends using Audacity, which is free and downloadable audio editing software, to facilitate the process.
- MyTinyPhone.com offers a second and much simpler method of making your own free ringtones. Users can choose from over 70,000 free tracks that have already been uploaded by others, or else upload their own MP3s. Each MP3 on the site can be transferred to a cell phone as a web link or an attachment.
Use the site with caution. MyTinyPhone does not charge for uploads or downloads, but it frequently presents links to pay websites. Surf carefully to avoid leaving the freebies behind. Also, remember that you might be charged data use fees when downloading the free ringtone files. Such fees do not originate from MyTinyPhone.com but instead depend on users� contracts with cell phone service providers.
- Cellsea.com is similar to MyTinyPhone. Free ringtones are already provided in dozens of categories, but users can also upload their own music for conversion to a ringtone. Another option is to create a ringtone by linking to a YouTube video.
- Win free ringtones. Many companies award ringtones as small contest prizes or as thank-you gifts for completing surveys or entering sweepstakes. The Coca-Cola Company, for example, offers free downloads in exchange for points collected on product packaging.
- Download free ringtones. The Internet is now burgeoning with sites advertising free ringtones. Although legitimate offers exist, scams abound! People should read reviews of free ringtone websites and understand each website�s own fine print before providing a telephone number or other personal information.
- Myxer.com advertises free ringtones, videos, and wallpaper. The company profits by selling a percentage of its content, but most of its revenue comes from selling ad space. Mxyer.com�s free ringtone technology is compatible with more than 1,000 phone models from more than 90 countries.
- Tonzr.com is a successful free ringtone service that was developed by a teenager. As of June 2009, Tonzr.com makes free ringtones available on the following US mobile phone networks: Sprint, Nextel, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Alltel, US Cellular, Cellular South, and Cricket. The company plans to add the remaining US providers and extend its service to users in 80 more countries.
- MSpot.com is offering one free ringtone per mobile number while supplies last. Two hundred choices are available, and these can be accessed through the �Giveaway� tab. This offer is limited to Sprint and AT&T Wireless customers.
Where can I buy ringtones?
There is no shortage of ringtone vendors; any major search engine will provide hundreds of options. All of the sites listed in the �free ringtone� section above also have ringtones available for a fee, and mobile phone companies include easy links for purchasing ringtones directly through a cell phone.
Consumers should read reviews of companies and find the best price plan for their needs. For example, a website could sell ringtones for 99 cents, $2.99 each, or $9.99/unlimited for a month.
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