It's Tuesday and this week's "How-To" project is how to make your very own ringtones for your phone. There is a little bit of controversy about this you can read about that here and here -now there are many ways to do this, but here's the one I am most fond of for all sorts of reasons, I'll get to those in a bit...First a little background.

It's hard to tell the current value of the ring tone market, could be about $4 billion worldwide, could be less. No matter what, it looks like it's going down. I personally think it has peaked. Phones are changing a lot and just about all modern phones support MP3, WAV, and/or 3GP files as ring tones. This basically means people are going to make their own since just about any one can make these files with any average computer. It is2004 baby, we're all making our own play lists with CDs we buy for our iPods or music we purchase online, using GarageBand to make our own music, our own background screens for our desktops and phones, our own DVDs and movies with iMovie and MovieMaker- we're all becoming producers, citizen engineers, and we're not going back. Smart companies will empower us. We're not criminals- we're customers and good ones at that- I spend more than I make it seems, hello high interest credit cards!

We all do this in some way now??? I bought a CD and use it in my alarm clock (a lot of alarm clocks have that as a feature)- Should I pay $3 for that? Perhaps, seems weird to me. Sometimes when the phone rings I whistle a popular tune from a CD I bought, do I need to pay for that? America is a great place, we have fair use- it's why we're great innovators and heck- making stuff for our phones for our own personal use goes beyond fair use. In this week's how to we show you how to make your own ring tones, for just your phone, for just personal use, from the CD you just bought.

Getting started
So let's get started. I personally think best application on the market for making ring tones for the average non-uber geek is "Xingtone" add to that, they work with the record companies, carriers and do a great job empowering the "do it yourself" crowd.

What is Xingtone? From the site: "Xingtone's desktop software is easy-to-use, legal, and allows you to create mobile phone ringtones using digital audio files on your computer - music clips, sound effects, your child's laugh, your dog's bark, or any sound you like!"

Before you download the application (it comes with a free trial that has 5 samples) make sure to test your phone:
http://www.xingtone.com/phones.html

You can also use your phone to browse directly to this site and test out the formats:
http://www.xingtone.com/test.html

Formats supported: mp3, mid, gcd, wav, mmf and amr.

Fill out your phone number, carrier and phone type. You'll get a SMS and if your phone supports it, you're good to download the application.

Next, download the application, it's PC only but a Mac version is in the works and this version works with VPC:
http://xingtone.com/download.html

So I bought the application, $14.95 is a fair price to do what I want to do, not only am I going to save $ but time. My friend Christian's band has a CD I really like and now I'll make some of the songs in to ring tones as well as a lot of other CDs my pals have made that I want to quickly convert to ringtones.

The phone
For this example I am going to use a Sony Ericsson p900 which supports MP3.

Install the application, if you bought it you'll need to enter your serial number, carrier, phone and source (CD).

xingtone config

Once configured run the application (double clicking the icon on the desktop).

xingtone icon

Pop a CD in your drive.

aw cd

Click Open in the Xingtone application.

xingtone app

Choose the track you wish to import.

tracks

From there you can highlight parts of the song you want, I picked a 10 second clip.

the wav

Hit Trim and make any more edits. You can also adjust the volume as well if desired.

trim

When you're ready, hit upload. One thing worth noting, the file is never really stored on your system, so you can't share it with others, you're just going to put it on your phone and only your phone, from your CD.

On your phone you'll get a SMS with a link to download the file. I use Opera on my p900 so I placed the link there and followed the link. Clicking the link will download the file and open Qviewer, you can listen to the file there.

sms and preview

Click here to watch a video of that.

From there you can tap Music > Save and set this as your new ringtone. And that's it.

new tone

Click here to watch a video of a phone call with my brand spankin' new ringtone.

From here you can do just about anything. I am going to make a few more ringtones from this CD which is available here by the way (thanks Christian!).

Now that you're making ringtones, you might ask what will this mean to the record and cell phone folks?

The future
Some labels realize this is where it is at. Even Walt Disney's very own Hollywood record's artist Hillary Duff is working with Xingtone to get her ringtones out there. Other labels like Artemis records are putting Xingtone on the CDs adding value to the CD and making it easier for owners to make ring tones. For carriers, it might be a good idea to look at this model and empower their users to get their own music on their phones, churn, switching and new customer acquisition is what makes and breaks a cell phone company, I'd switch to any carrier that "got it" a lot of people our there will too. Look how many of us bought iPods and buy music now.

Questions, comments? pt@flashenabled.com