*Okay, well, maybe not "Fuck A Ringtone" so much as Fuck Paying For A Ringtone! $600 Million, $550 Million, $510 Million. Yeah, Million. Six zero's.

These numbers represent overall ringtone sales in the United States for the years 2006, 2007, & the projected sales for 2008, respectively, as stated by BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) and reported by the New York Post. The sales are going down, and I know why, but that'll come later.

See, I'm no music thief...

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...However I'm also no sucker chump either!

It would clearly be impossible to gather accurate statistics as to how many folks were forced to double dip their music purchases, but I'll bet that group makes up a large chunk of those numbers above.

Here's the scenario: You just picked up the newest disc from you favorite band that you've been jonesin' for for weeks. You got a countdown ticker up on your social networking site of choice and the day has finally come. You pop that fucker in your dash and you just drive and drive and drive. You're not going anywhere, but the car is your sanctuary. Your fortress of solitude. The one place you can truly enjoy your tunes. You've driven so long that the disc begins to repeat. Well, it could have begun to repeat had you gotten all the way through it. But dammit if Track 12 didn't just kill you. You hit the repeat track button and you've listened to it in full about 9 times. This isn't counting all the rewinds where you had to hear that one part again, or where you tried to memorize the lyrics. This track owns your soul, and there's nothing you can do about it. So, you're lucky enough not to live in your car, but you also can't have a bud in your ear at all times. So what's the next best thing? A Ringtone? Goddamn Motherfucken Right A Ringtone!

Except, have you seen how much these greedy motherfuckers are charging for a :30 second snippet of your new favorite track? Fuck! Are they trying to rape a bitch?! Fuck that! Damn the Man! Or even worse yet, this song of yours, the one that just bumped the Macarena off your deserted island list, it's not the lead off single, so even if you wanted to buy it, you couldn't. Ain't that some Bullshit!!

But hold on a minute, you remember seeing something awhile back in the Itunes menu on your laptop...something about creating a ringtone. You scurry over and start it up. You must be the world's biggest schmuck, thinking Itunes would actually give this golden goose away? Of course not! You can only create ringtones of songs you've purchased from Itunes. So if you're like me and you like to have something in your hands, if you like reading liner notes, if you like flipping through the album artwork (all while driving of course), then sorry pal, but you're shit outta luck. You've gotta shell out another $.99-$2.99 for the song you already bought and paid for.

Or at least that used to be the case.

The Solution and Reason Why Ringtone Sales Are Going Down: Perusing through the CNet downloads, I recently discovered an ad-supported freeware program called ToneThis. I went to the ToneThis website to see if my model phone was supported, it was, it is, and I downloaded the software.

ToneThis is a fairly simple program that any idiot can figure out, myself being a case in point. "Fairly simple" though, entails a lack of customization options, which suits me just fine. It allows for a fade in and/or fade out, so what more do you really need?

Once you first start it up after you've installed it, you create a profile, (this is necessary as you can have profiles for multiple phones) which entails entering your phone number and carrier so that ToneThis can text the song, picture, or even video to your phone. Once that's set up, you choose a song from your harddrive (I'm not sure how many various formats are supported, but it will do mp3's), select the section of the song that you want converted into the ringtone and you send that bitch. You can also send the entire song, but I mean really, whose phone rings for longer than :30 seconds? Here's what ToneThis looks like:

The ToneThis User Interface

As a point of reference, I had previously tried using the creatively named Audacity program. Audacity had all the bells and whistles, but despite reading several online tutorials, I just couldn't get the thing to spit out a ringtone. Which is not to say that Audacity isn't a fine piece of software, it's more to say that it was too complex for my desired purpose. I hope to one day revisit it with a new set of ears.

Anyway, even if you're not a 14 year old but you still wanna hear your choice new jam bumping out a 2 in. speaker in your pocket, give ToneThis a try. Now the only downside is that when the phone rings, I tend to linger, hesitating to pickup as I enjoy my new ringtone. Luckily my phone doesn't ring too often.

- Lenny

AuthorBTH Staff