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Ring-Tone Barons? Japanese Record Companies Raided 181

Posted by timothy
from the economy-based-on-pokeman dept.
PuceBaboon writes " The Asahi Shimbun is reporting that officers from the Fair Trade Commission raided several major record companies in Japan, including Sony Music Entertainment, Toshiba EMI and Avex, on suspicion of creating a monopoly for the purpose of maintaining artificially high prices on... telephone ring-tone tunes."
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Ring-Tone Barons? Japanese Record Companies Raided

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  • Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @04:43AM (#10101344) Homepage Journal
    I'd like to see this happen in the US. I'd also like to see pressure put on Cell phone makers to open up the system for user created tones.

    Or why not just let a phone play a 10 second or so clip of an MP3? The decoder chips are cheap enough now.

    I won't use the word conspiracy, but there is collusion between service providers and phone manufacturers to keep the price of ring tones so fucking high.

    LK
    • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

      by evvk (247017)
      At least my phone comes with software (albeit winblows-only) to convert
      normal midi tunes to the limited format the phone wants. Then you can
      transfer them to the phone with whatever expensive cables they sell or
      by IR, or by putting the tune on a wap-enabled apache server.
      • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

        by Daleks (226923) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @05:10AM (#10101401)
        Then you can transfer them to the phone with whatever expensive cables they sell or by IR, or by putting the tune on a wap-enabled apache server.

        Not all carriers allow OTA (over the air) downloads of ringtones, wallpapers, or Java programs. I almost didn't get T-Mobile service because of this, but they were the only carrier with good reception in my area. AT&T (soon to be Cingular) is good about being open. I'm not sure where the other carriers stand.
        • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

          by vidnet (580068)
          You americans and your cell phone networks... In Europe, no provider creates custom firmware, all phones can be used on all networks and with all ringtone/game/wallpaper services. These crazy lock-in things are unimaginable and illegal.
          • Europeans also pay far more per-minute of voice calls than American customers do. American companies make up for it by charging extra for data services.

            The only complaint I have about carrier lock-ins is I can't always pick the phone apart from the carrier. Sure I can get an unlocked phone and try to buy just a SIM, but not all services work correctly.
        • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

          by NanoGator (522640)
          "I'm not sure where the other carriers stand."

          I use Cingular on the central coast of California. Just to be a nerd, I acquired a few sounds of the handlink from Quantum Leap, converted them into .MP3, uploaded them to my webserver (apache, but not specifically WAP), and went to that page via my phone to download and install them. (My phone doesn't have IR or Bluetooth, and I dun wanna pay $60 for a cable..) Worked fine.
      • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

        Gee... I have an old Ericsson phone... and a Palmtop..

        There is free software for my palmtop for converting and editing (midi like) ringtones.. I can transfer them using infrared or bluetooth...

        This all is like 3 years old.. you are telling me that 'modern' phones no longer allow this kind of thing? that is insane.
    • Re:Good (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Or why not just let a phone play a 10 second or so clip of an MP3?

      Actually, phones are already available which play mp3 ringtones.
      Google: "mp3 ringtones" [google.com]
    • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

      by Awptimus Prime (695459) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @05:35AM (#10101450)
      Personally, I use Bluetooth between my phone and PC to manage ringtones, make additional phonebook entries, install games/apps, and copy pictures from the phone to the PC. This cuts out the middleman and any unexpected charges.

      I find this especially useful since I compose my own music. Simply export a mix to a MIDI file and copy it over. Instant custom ring-tones like none other!

      You do not need Windows, as suggested in other posts. Dig around on SourceForge and other Open Source sites, all the tools you need are there regardless of your OS.

      Personally, I do not like the idea of MP3 ringtones. It is much easier on the brain to hear a dinky midi of an Emeniem song a thousand times than to hear the real thing with vocals. I know, I'm screwed on that one. It is enevitable.

      • Well, you could always play a ringtone on an old phone and record that. Or on any other midi device which can create dinky midi music, like for instance, most computers. All you will experience is that you will hear other phones less, and if you do they just play music (continuously, if you are unlucky). The future is bright for dinky midi lovers.
        • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Simonetta (207550)
          Well, you could always play a ringtone on an old phone and record that.

          That's an interesting idea. But what do you mean by 'old phone'. Would it be the 1960's-style rotary dial phone (Ma Bell standard) or an even earlier 1920's-style microwave-oven-sized wooden box. The kind with the earpiece on a thick black wire.

          And where would you get a recording of one of these phones ringing tones? The physical phones aren't around anymore. Maybe taking a sound sample from the sound tracks of movies from
          • The physical phones aren't around anymore.

            Wanna bet? Call up any of the baby bells. I bet they could scrounge you any of their "approved" phones all the way back to the late 60's if you offer the right warehouse lackey the right amount of money. They're assets, and as they're returned they're catalogued and stored. But as they're not a phone in the current issue list, they sit in a warehouse corner.

            Want farther back? 50's? 40's? Call one of the major motion picture studios. With the way those guys pack-r
          • These are not hard to get at garage sales and antique shops. The bells usually work fine.

            But I agree with you. Ring tones are the spawn of Satan. I always keep my phone on vibrate only - it's polite and non-annoying.

    • correct me if i'm mistaken here, but as i read the article, the collusion charges *are* in fact about the sale of "real" recording snippets, be they in mp3 format or whatever is en vogue over there.

      the article states that the record companies don't have control over the "instrumental" versions, which mostly are polyphonic midi ringtones. the prices for those may be too high also, but for different reasons (well, the same reason but a different set of unscrupulous companies i guess :-)).

      it seems that snipp
    • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Alioth (221270)
      Buy your own phone instead of using the telco's one and you can do that. I bought a nice Nokia 6820 (because it has the qwerty keyboard when you open it - hard to irc with a number pad only). It plays standard MIDI files. I just stuck the MIDI files I wanted on my website, and just used the phone's web browser to fetch them.

      I personally use the introduction to a fairly obscure game because it more or less guarantees my ring tone is unique (so no hunting for my phone when someone else with the same tone has
    • My Siemens C55 which is quite old now, plays wav files no problem.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      Or why not just let a phone play a 10 second or so clip of an MP3?

      I'm sure that will happen - the cameras did, but for now phones like my nokia come with PC software to convert sound files to ringtones. Using it completely voids copyright on the songs, and every time it rings it is a "public performance", but I suspect hardly anyone is ever going to care about that.

      I won't use the word conspiracy

      I'll say it - the music industry is nasty and full of types that openly boast about getting people kneecaps sma

    • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dave420 (699308)
      They do accept user-created ring tones, in fact, they openly support it. .MID files are common, and lots of new (and not-so-new) phones support MP3 ring-tones already.

      There's no conspiracy, just a bunch of stupid people who don't realise you can get the ringtones for free off the net, and who don't realise the incredible lack of value a ringtone has. Because these people don't have a clue, they keep on paying $3 for 20K of data, which keeps these companies in business. If people stopped paying the extort

    • My phone (HTC Himalaya) lets me play .wav files as ringtones. It isn't too difficult to convert an mp3 to a wav.
    • The MP3 idea will probably never happen. I could see that group that represents the industry (not the RIAA, but another) sue manufacturers and authors claiming that playing the sound in public constitutes an unlicensed public performance. This is similar to the crap this group did to force places like Pizza Hut to pay licensing fees to allow them to play music over the dining area speakers (excluding the jukebox). They also pulled this stunt on companies using on-hold music. I forget their name. ASPCA
  • Is it just me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aixou (756713) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @04:44AM (#10101346)
    or are almost all telephone ringtones *overpriced*. I mean, come on, they are selling crappy midi files for outrageous (comparatively) prices. Perhaps its all just good business, but I get irritated at such extreme profit turns.
    • Re:Is it just me (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      or are almost all telephone ringtones *overpriced*. I mean, come on, they are selling crappy midi files for outrageous (comparatively) prices. Perhaps its all just good business, but I get irritated at such extreme profit turns.

      Tell me about it. Or tell my brother about it, he's the one who had to pay for my nephew's $550 cell bill. Most of the cost?

      Ring tones.

      The kid should have known better yes, he's fifteen, but damn.
    • by hkmwbz (531650) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @05:58AM (#10101490) Journal
      "or are almost all telephone ringtones *overpriced*"
      Mobile services are way overpriced. At least in Europe. The reason? Mobiles allow the people who run the network to make deals with people who deliver contents.

      Because mobiles have traditionally had very limited software capabilities, they have been able to charge outrageous sums for mobile services. Instead of browsing the web you'll be browsing some specialized service with content created specifically for mobiles.

      And the problem isn't just that the mobile operators and content owners do everything they can to keep it that way.

      And even worse, people like Danish mobile analyst John Strand [strandconsult.dk] from Strand Consult are attacking anything which threatens this mobile hegemony by operators and content owners.

      John Strand has been known to use his influence to try to make sure that today's situation with crappy and overpriced services will remain. He basically tells the press that "yeah, these people don't understand the mobile market and won't survive for long" if it threatens today's hegemony.

      One specific example is the rise of software on mobiles that can browse the web instead of the customer being force fed what the operator wants him to. John Strand is using his influence to claim that companies that offer such solutions will never survive because they operate outside the "mobile food chain".

      John Strand and his ilk are basically trying to maintain today's situation because overpriced mobile services are a good thing to them. It's a mobile market they know, and they are making good money by just being "consultants".

      So yeah, mobile services suck and are over priced. Software like real web browsers is arriving to give the customer an actual choice and make it cheaper, but on the other hand, corrupt "analysts" like John Strand are doing everything they can to stop this more customer friendly development, and really fight to keep today's system with customer lock-in and over priced services.

      • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @07:42AM (#10101669) Journal
        Because mobiles have traditionally had very limited software capabilities, they have been able to charge outrageous sums for mobile services. Instead of browsing the web you'll be browsing some specialized service with content created specifically for mobiles.
        Do you mean WAP? I agree it is somewhat limited, mainly because of the limited memory, keyboard and displays of mobile phones. IIRC, WAP is actually just toned-down HTML with some extra protocols. But anyone can create content, and my provider (Orange) at least do not limit access to these. A number of newspapers have WAP pages alongside their regular ones, and services like Google and Yahoo are available on WAP as well. Most of the premium stuff like traffic info and route finders offered by providers, can be had for free elsewhere. The best thing is that I pay only a few Euros a month for data access, but all my WAP browsing is free!

        The one service that I still find greatly overpriced is direct (non-WAP) data transfer. On GPRS, usage is charged by the MB since the connection is always-on. Typical fees here range from 1,5 Euro/MB (Telfort), 3 Euro/MB (Orange) to an unbelievable 7,5 Euro/MB (KPN).

        My question is: how on earth can the hope to sell these shiny new broadband 3G phones, if we are to download all that "exiting new music and movie content" to the tune of 7,5 Euro/MB? Perhaps you are right again... since these days my phone/PDA can browse proper WWW pages after a fashion, they'll charge me an arm and a leg just to encourage me to stay on WAP.

    • I mean, come on, they are selling crappy midi files for outrageous (comparatively) prices.

      I have no problem with companies selling the ringtones at whatever the market will bear, as long as there's no collusion.

      What I have a problem with, is any idiot who butchers *any* piece of music by playing it through a 1.5" diameter piezoelectric speaker. Even rap "music" deserves more respect than that.

      It's bad enough that I have to cope with cellphones ringing everywhere I go, but it's worse still when it's anot

      • This is the most caustic, evil, angry thing I have ever seen on SlashDot all day (it's pretty early though) - and I agree with you 100%. Thanks for using all the big words for me because I haven't had any caffeine yet - but yea : a ringtone on their phone is the aural equivalent to typing HI U R 2 CUTE. DO U WANT 2 PLAY??? 1 4M H0T!!!!1!1
      • My phone (Treo 600) doesn't have regular ringers on it. They're all annoying. I miss the old crappy sound chips they had in the older phones. My current ring tone is a repeating "beep" that unfortunately does not sound like a pager.
    • I was suprised when I was on AOL today and saw their prices for ringtones.

      I signed up for AOL because of that "freeipods" deal (I referred [freeipods.com] you, wink wink). During my exploration of all the new stuff put on AOL over the past 10 years since my last free trial I noticed an area called AOL "My Mobile".

      Well, clicking around I found a "ringtones" section and checked it out. Seems that they offer a subscription(!!!) to their ringtones service which makes them 60 cents a piece or they sell them outright for $1.20
      • Most of the new phones will let you assign different ringtones to different people, so you know who's calling by listening. Kind of neat, but I do wish they'd just include boring old standard ringer sounds like in the old days.
    • by MacFury (659201) <me@johnkramli c h .com> on Sunday August 29, 2004 @11:24AM (#10102393) Homepage
      or are almost all telephone ringtones *overpriced*. I mean, come on, they are selling crappy midi files for outrageous (comparatively) prices.

      I have a friend who says, "$0.99 for a song from iTunes??? I'd never pay that much!" Then she happily blows $20 a month at $1.25 a piece on stupid god damn ringtones for her cellphone.

    • Is it just me or almost all sodas overpriced at a movie theater? I mean, come on, they are selling crappy sugar and soda water drinks for outrageous (compatatively) prices....

      Give me a break. There is overpricing and taxing of luxury items all over the place. The taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, parking at a "special event", and so on.

      Now if one's life is that significantly changed by having a 30 second pop song playing instead of the 30-50 standard rings that comes with the phone for free, then yeah, you
  • Ringtones?? (Score:5, Funny)

    by newdles (794384) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @04:46AM (#10101350)
    You have to BUY ringtones? What's this world coming to? Next thing you know, MS will charge extra for ding dongs it adds to messenger :O
  • Not being horrible or anything... but

    "The companies are suspected of colluding to restrict sales of recordings "

    Well duh! How long did it take to figure this one out???
  • "But when a clip from the original hit recording including the vocals is used as a ring tone, record companies can control who has the right to distribute it." I don't see why the record companies don't have control if the vocals aren't included.
    • I don't see why the record companies don't have control if the vocals aren't included.
      Probably because most hit songs out now use 'samples' of other people's music to begin with.
    • Re:vocals? (Score:5, Informative)

      by yo303 (558777) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @05:30AM (#10101443)
      I don't see why the record companies don't have control if the vocals aren't included.

      Because they are recording companies.

      (And to clarify, it's not just the vocals -- it's the particular recording, usually including vocals.)

      The record company owns the recording, not the composition. To sell the record, the record company must licence the song from the composer (who is often not the performer in question.)

      As an example, let's take the song "Remember (Walking in the Sand)", originally performed by the Shangri-Las, and written by George Morton. It was since covered by Patsy Cline, the Beach Boys and Aerosmith, among others.

      If you wanted the Aerosmith version as your ringtone, you'd have to licence it from whoever owns that Aerosmith recording, and from whoever now owns the rights to the composition... but not from the Shangri-Las' right-holders, because you're not using their recording.

      If you just wanted the song itself as a midi file in your phone, you don't have to pay anything to Aerosmith's label, nor to the Beach Boys' label, nor to the Shangri-Las' label -- because you're not using those recordings. You just have to pay whoever now owns George Morton's composition rights (provided the copyright hasn't lapsed) because that's all you're using.

      yo.

  • by Photo_Nut (676334) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @04:48AM (#10101357)
    Make sure you pay top dollar for that ring tone. After all, it is _stealing_ if you use a ring tone you didn't pay us extra for, and only _we_ can allow you to add a new ring tone.

    Is it just me, or is this rediculous?

    First, that there is money to be had in making consumers pay to be able to upload a WAV file into their Cell phone, and second, that the government is breaking into corporate offices over this?

    Bizarre.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      As far as i know, they are making more money with ringtones than with ordinary CD-singles by now. Meaning that every time you buy a single, you (statistically) have bought at least 20 ringtones.
  • by davejenkins (99111) <slashdot&davejenkins,com> on Sunday August 29, 2004 @04:50AM (#10101364) Homepage
    Collusion among Japanese companies?
    I'm shocked! Shocked!!

    The GOJ raids probably 2-3 major industries each year on average. Collusion is bound to happen when:
    1. almost every major company has its HQ in one city (Tokyo)
    2. everyone knows each other
    3. if/when a manager changes teams, it is assumed he will take the Db and any other data he can obtain on his way out the door
    4. "gentlemanly cooperation" is seen as a way to maintain safe sales levels for everyone, while going for the jugular on external (overseas) sales
    • Cartels (Score:4, Informative)

      by ImaLamer (260199) <john.lamarNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday August 29, 2004 @06:40AM (#10101565) Homepage Journal
      "gentlemanly cooperation" is seen as a way to maintain safe sales levels for everyone, while going for the jugular on external (overseas) sales

      Just for clarification this is referred to as a "cartel" in economics terms.

      OPEC, the RIAA, the Cali (cocaine) Cartel, all the same.

      Definition of cartel from my economics text (from the glossary):

      A form of oligopoly characterized by collusion; intended to increase profits, but illegal in the United States.

      From the actual text:

      The objective of a cartel is to increase price to the profit-maximizing monopoly price. The higher price implies a smaller output, which must be allocated among members of the cartel.

      Basically the group gets together and decides that they will compete but not enough to put each other at risk. No one member can do something that would be harmful to the group.

      For example, this is the reason that OPEC collectively controls oil output and not just one OPEC country. They decide together what is in the best interest of them all, creating unfair prices for the rest of the world as suplus is un-naturally replaced with deficit. (as opposed to an equilibrium being struck on its own)
  • iTMS? (Score:3, Informative)

    by InternationalCow (681980) <mauricevansteenselNO@SPAMmac.com> on Sunday August 29, 2004 @04:57AM (#10101376) Journal
    It's interesting in this regard to think of the announcement some weeks ago of iTunes coming to Motorola cellphones. Then you have several record companies offering tunes and whatnot through a single channel. Talking about set prices... I wonder what the antitrust laws would have to say about that.
  • mp3 as ringtone (Score:5, Informative)

    by MoZ-RedShirt (192423) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @04:59AM (#10101379)
    Or why not just let a phone play a 10 second or so clip of an MP3? The decoder chips are cheap enough now.

    The newest Nokia phones are able to use midi files or mp3 files as ringtones. You can load them via infrared, cable or bluetooth connection and thus don't have to pay a single cent for your new ringtones.

    RedShirt
    • You can load them via infrared, cable or bluetooth connection and thus don't have to pay a single cent for your new ringtones.

      You still need a license to play them in public, though.
    • Only problem is that they are mosly useless as *ring tones*. I recently bought a Ericsson T630, a phone that has almost all the latest bills and whistles, but one thing that annoys me is that all ring tones suck! They do not ring loud enough for me to heard them. *All* previous phones I have had (different brands) have had ring tones that you could actually heard, but now that they primary use these darn .mid songs, well...
      • Just fire up a MIDI sequencer and make the loudest beep you can. The sounds on an Ericsson that actually are annoyingly loud are also MIDI files, just not polished polyphonic ones.
    • Re:mp3 as ringtone (Score:3, Insightful)

      by way2trivial (601132)
      Hmm.. it might interest you to know that my Kyocera phone has this ability, and it's been released for close to two years now [kyocera.com]

      in fact, I can assign all sounds except phone # keypresses to any mp3 I'd like...

  • Another example of what happens when the police get bored.
  • I make my own (Score:5, Informative)

    by Facekhan (445017) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @05:08AM (#10101396)
    I bought the cable for my LG VX6000 phone and use some third party software bit_pm to upload ringtones that I make from any sound file. I just lower the quality a bit (soundforge free trial or any other editor) and make it mono and cut about 30-60 seconds out of an mp3 to make my ringtones then upload them to the phone. Took a fair amount of head scratching to get it all to work right but there is no reason to pay just to format shift the music you already have to a ringtone. Its amazing how the verizon software that comes with the cable can't even convert my phone book into a .csv but some guy in his spare time has managed to let me make my own ringtones.
  • by DrXym (126579) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @05:09AM (#10101400)
    ... or a datakit you can often copy .mid files over to the phone and use them as ringtones.

    They're easy enough to find, e.g. here [midisite.co.uk], but a web search for your favourite artist / song + "mid" will find them quickly enough on plenty of sites. Some sites even make them available by WAP so you can grab them straight to your phone with no PC.

    Or be a chump. Most of the lowest common denominator tabloids are filled with full page ads where you can download ringtones and wallpaper for 4.50 / £3.00 each. You probably end up with the same MIDI file that the operator found on one of the free sites. I very much doubt that the artist gets a slice of that so why hand out money for something you can have for free?

  • With my phone I can just upload any ring tone via cable or IR... Do new phones allow this?
    • In theory, this should be possible with most newer phones. However, if you have bought the phone from your network operator, you might have bought a crippled version of the phone: Vodafone sells these kind of phones here in Germany: You cannot use get photos out of the phone or get ringtones into it via Cable/IR/Bluetooth ...
      • Just an FYI on this subject:

        T-Mobile does not appear to cripple their phones in the US. The worst I have seen them do on my phone is set some files as read-only. I have two stupid wallpapers and a game that will not delete.

        Anybody have any suggestions which does not involve a hammer?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 29, 2004 @05:24AM (#10101431)
    Record company raids you!
  • Download for free (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Sunday August 29, 2004 @05:29AM (#10101441) Homepage
    Applicable for Nokia phones, but may apply for other brands too.

    You can always save the $, Euro, YEN for ringtones by finding a free midi site [mididb.com] (annoying banners warning) and convert them yourself with the included Nokia software (sorry, Windoze only).

    In addition I get the bonus of not knowing anybody else to have Led Zeppelins "Kashmir" as a ringtone.

    Works for me and makes me laugh every time when I see those fantastic 4EUR99 offers...

    • by moonbender (547943) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <rednebnoom>> on Sunday August 29, 2004 @05:41AM (#10101459)
      Or you preserve global public sanity by just having a ringtone that rings instead of abusing cell phone rining as some sort of individualised message to the world. Bah. It's not like I have anything against mobiles, but heck, the vibration alarm is really all you need in public.
      • I have two ring tones:

        1) Soft, pleasant chime for when the wife calls.
        2) Real old 50's telephone bell ring for everything else.

        When my phone rings I want it to sound like a phone and not have everyone surrounding me look at me like "WTF is that trash music??"
      • No, what you want is an MP3 saying "ANSWER the F***ING PHONE!" over and over again.

        Then you'll remember to turn it off when you're in a public place.

        After the first few times anyway.
    • I love Kashmir too but a quick Google search [google.com] tells you that many other people have it too. Albeit in the form of "Come With Me" by Puff Daddy.

      True, it's not "the" Kashmir, but it sounds the same coming from a phone which plays midi files.

      (Likely because it is the same though too).

  • For starters... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by intekra (754612) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @05:51AM (#10101479) Homepage
    They need to make new phones come with NORMAL standard ring tones. Not fairy tale musicals, no rotary style ring rings, how about a decent sounding 'ring ring' eh? The fact that I had to use Adobe Audition and pieces of a midi ringtone to make my 'ring ring' is an outrage. As far as musical ringtones from MP3s some phones support MP3 ringstones and more often than not, WAV ringtones. If you're lucky enough to have a smartphone, well you're like me and have a LOT more freedom over ringtones on your phone. MP3 > edit > drag drop > set as tone > done! Hell, I just got a freeware DiVX player for my cell phone :)
  • Er, MP3s? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by kahei (466208)

    1 -- plug phone into USB port
    2 -- drag MP3 files into phone, unplug from USB port
    3 -- set one of the MP3s as the ringtone
    4 -- profit!

    This seems to work pretty well for me... am I missing something?

    • Profit - yeah, bad joke. A lot of cell phones don't support MP3. A lot of people don't connect their phones to computer. Those that do may not use USB. They might use IR or Bluetooth. You're missing a lot.
  • Blasted Ring Tones (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrNonchalant (767683) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @06:01AM (#10101498)
    I don't know about anybody else here, but I imagine I'm far from the only one who would love to see those blasted things continue to have artificially inflated prices.
  • I never paid... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ImaLamer (260199) <john.lamarNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday August 29, 2004 @06:11AM (#10101517) Homepage Journal
    Don't search for "Free Ringtones" because you can only find pages with text that says "Free Ringtones**".
    Usually with disclaimers at the bottom of the page like: **Free Ringtones by opening your phone and letting them out.

    Try this site [2thumbswap.com], went to check if it still worked and voila! Getting "Star Wars Theme".

    I wonder which it is because I already have both of my cell phones set to "Imperial March" (been there for over year, had Super Mario Brothers Theme for a few weeks).

    Check out their XXX [2thumbswap.com] text messages [2thumbswap.com] too. They include classics such as:
    Id fuck u sitting
    id fuck u lying,
    if u were a bird id fuck u flying.
    And when ur dead and long forgotten
    ill dig u up and fuck u rotten
    I've only used the TDMA (monophonic) tones from this site but they always worked, and sounded good.

  • Jeez... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarkMcLeod (759072) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @06:22AM (#10101535) Homepage
    Full song on iTunes: $.99

    30 second clip of "similar" song made with high pitched tones: $3+

    Getting raped by your cellular provider: Priceless.
  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Sunday August 29, 2004 @07:31AM (#10101649) Homepage
    One of my side hobbies is making people feel old by reminding them of past events that seemed like yesterday. I remember in 1995 saying to someone, "remember the early 90's with hip-packs? We're in the mid-nineties now."

    I think I'll be saying the same thing about ringtones in 2006. At the office, it used to be a game to show off ringtones in a meeting -- all phones were left on. But that's gotten old, and so now they're all on vibrate. Of course the rules are looser in social situations, but I think it'll get old there too -- think restaurants, movies, even at-home DVD movies.

    Besides staleness, I believe ringtones are an anachronism because:

    1. The concept of a telephone ringing is from the 20th century where one had to run to the phone, rather than the phone being a personal borg-like appliance.
    2. Cell phones are getting smaller all the time, so it's not as likely for one to, for example, leave it at the office desk and walk around the office.
    What I see more likely is the cell phone replacing the iPod, but of course it's going to take some innovative hardware manufacturer to push this; the music industry is too laggard and reticent.
  • Government raiding corporate offices?

    Dear or dear, what does that say to business?

    That's just contrary to a free market system where market conditions are what should rightfully dictate to corporations what prices should be.

    Bullshit!

    Is it me or is it that any time in North America, where busines activities are curtailed by societal interests, the business community comes out swinging with the words of "what are they saying to business?".

    As far as I am concerned and I'm a business owner too.... The mes
  • Who cares? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Sane people, I mean. Why would you even need to change the ringtone? You can't do it on a normal phone, and I didn't hear anyone complain.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 29, 2004 @08:18AM (#10101761)
    from reading through the comments, it's painfully obvious that so many of you have no idea what the word "polyphonic" means. you seem to think it's the ability to play mp3s or whatnot from your phone. in fact, it's simply means the phone can generate two or more tones at once, hence giving it the ability to play some of the more complex midi files out there... /rant
  • by nz17 (601809) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @08:32AM (#10101795) Homepage
    http://ringtonetools.mikekohn.net/ [mikekohn.net] has a great little F/OSS program called Ringtone Tools for generating your own ringtones from a variety of different formats for a cavalcade of phone models. The program (Ringtone Tools) runs on Windows, DOS, and *nix'es, with source fully available, and some purchasable PHP and Java versions. Really nice tool, I've used it to translate Nokia text ringtones into ones for my Motorola t120.

    Yes, that's right, older cell phone models used to actually let you type the ringtones directly into them, without special software or cables, though that option has always seemingly been available for these types. Very nice, economical solution for those of us who want custom or special ringtones but not enough to pay a high price for them. Besides, it's not like these companies are making anime ringtones (Go Totoro!) available anyway.
  • The whole hype surrounding ringtones makes me laugh because they are basically the only "killer app" for modern mobile phones, at least here in the US where text messaging hasn't caught on like in Japan and the EU. All this hype about smart phones and 3G networks and prices of $100+ for a phone and the most used user feature is custom ringtones? How sad is that? So with ringtones being the only service that people actually want and use of course the cell phone companies will make it as difficult as possib
  • by Safety Cap (253500) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @12:09PM (#10102600) Homepage Journal
    I think ringtones should be $300 each.

    Then maybe people will start using the VIBRATE mode, instead of the cry-for-attention, I-am-teh-5uX ringtone mode.

  • Last time I checked, there was nothing stopping people composing their own music.

    The record companies may be greedy monopolistic talent processors and their tactics akin to legalised gangsterism, but their product is not critical to life. If you're sufficient of an idiot to pay for "personalised" phone covers and ringtones, you deserve exploiting.

    Learn to "personalise" it yourself, rather than borrowing someone else's personality.
  • Article incorrect (Score:5, Informative)

    by achurch (201270) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @09:59PM (#10105857) Homepage

    . . . or, rather, misleading. It's not "ring tones" in the MIDI sense, but actual MP3 clips of songs that are the subject of the raid.

    In Japan, anyone is allowed to make and sell MIDI-style ring tones as long as they pay a usage fee to the copyright office. This fee is then paid back to the original authors of the song--but not to the record labels. There are something like 200 companies producing ring tones now, and the labels get nothing out of any of them.

    So when the next wave--ring songs, for lack of a better term; MP3 (or similarly encoded) digital sound--came around, the labels got greedy. Since they own the copyrights on the actual recordings, they decided not to let anyone but their own group companies sell clips from the songs. The Fair Trade Commission decided that this was unfair use of monopoly, and thus the raid.

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