Ring it on! How to Make your own Ringtone for Change

Posted by michellem on May 18, 2007

So, you want to make a ringtone to make the world a better place?

You've heard them, the people next to you in the cafe that have some hit song as their ringtones - but try on an endangered species, a presidential candidate riffing to a beat, or an issue message to be the life of the party.

You're envious, I know. I am too. So, how did they do it? Every cell phone provider, of course, provides you a way to pay to download a ringtone. But why spend the money, when with just a bit of work, you can do it for free? Besides, the cell phone companies aren't likely to have a ringtone that sends the kind of message you might like to send.

What you need: first, you need to figure out the best way to get ringtones onto your phone - and whether you phone allows you to use make-you-own ringtones. This guide is a great start. Most newer phones allow you to use standard audio file formats (like mp3) as a ringtone. Downloading ringtones via WAP pages is generally the best way to get a ringtone onto your phone. You can also check the manual of the phone you have. For many phones with bluetooth, it's easy to upload an mp3 from your computer to your phone via Bluetooth file sharing.

For many folks, the best thing is to find a ringtone you like, on a website such as myxer.com - which is a great site for finding both free and paid ringtones, and sharing ringtones that you might make (more on that later.) You can browse myxer.com for ringtones by type of music, and other categories (like comedy.) Once you set up your phone, getting ringtones onto your phone should be easy. There are many other places to get ringtones - some resources are listed below.

Maybe you want to make your own ringtone? You want to mix John Lennon's "Imagine" with Martin Luther King saying "I have dream." You want to make your own political ringtone spoofing one of the campaigns in the United States?

You can mix in your own sounds using an open source audio editing program, like Audacity which is cross platform, and will allow you to trim down your ringtone, or even mix different songs and sounds in your ringtone. Myxer.com let's you also mix onlined, and it and some other sites allow you to upload any mp3 file, and make a ringtone available to your friends, or anyone.

So, fire up Audacity, and do some mixing! We want to hear what you come up with! Ring it on!

Other Resources
Wikipedia article on Ringtones
Detailed guide from WIRED on how to create your own ringtones Ringtonia: news about ringtones
A great review and opinion about the vast number of ringtone formats that exist
Development Seed's Political Ringtones


There's a free online tool

There's a free online tool makeownringtone.com
It's a bit less complicated than using downloadable software.

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