Ringy Dingy
May 5, 2005 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Say you've composed a piece of music you just know would make a killer ringtone, and you're not averse to making a little money. Where do you start? Who do you tell?
posted by o2b to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Personally? I think I'd release it for free and get the publicity to lead to something more lucrative. But I admit my preconception of ringtones being a horrible market might be incorrect.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:48 AM on May 5, 2005

Ringtones are a multi-billion dollar industry. That said, I have no idea how you break into said industry.
posted by reverendX at 9:01 AM on May 5, 2005

Ringtones are a multi-billion dollar industry, but so are movies and CDs. Coming up with a single song or short film isn't going to make you much (or any) money in the latter two, and I doubt composing a single original ringtone will net you anything in the former -- after all, the ringtones that are making those billions tend to be versions of music already familiar to the buyer. I'd expect original ringtones to be given away as part of someone's hobby.
posted by mendel at 9:13 AM on May 5, 2005

I have no idea, but this place says you can sell your ringtone through their system. Billboard has some suggestions as well.
posted by fionab at 9:19 AM on May 5, 2005

Response by poster: We're thinking along the lines of that stupid Crazy Frog -- one catchy clip has earned a ton of money as a ringtone and has been turned into a dance mix.

Now, believe me when I say I understand that it's a long shot, but it's worth taking, no?
posted by o2b at 9:20 AM on May 5, 2005

Well, according to that BBC article, the guy who recorded the Crazy Frog ringtone gave the recording away free, let it sit for eight years while it became two separate Internet memes, and then was approached by a ringtone vendor who licensed the recording, advertised it heavily on TV, and is making lots of money off the ringtone while not giving the guy who recorded it much in return.

That fits with my point that ringtones are popular first, and then make money, even though this one was popular like All Your Base and not like Britney.

If it doesn't cost you anything to give it to a ringtone vendor (and watch for things like signing away your rights, or guaranteeing exclusivity, and so forth) then you might as well see what happens, but keep in mind that when you do, you're doing the ringtone vendor a favor, not vice versa.
posted by mendel at 9:42 AM on May 5, 2005

Response by poster: The tune in question has an All Your Base-like history (as opposed to no history), so that's what we're hoping to leverage. I guess I could have explained this all up front.
posted by o2b at 10:17 AM on May 5, 2005

My suggestion would be to try to sell it yourself. Make it available through a website of your own and then start some grass roots marketing for it. If you get any traction, maybe you could make a cheap 15 sec TV ad and throw it on cable stations late at night.

If you really think it's that good, take a shot.
posted by gfrobe at 11:18 AM on May 5, 2005


Is your ringtone the insane banjo music from that Doritos flash?
posted by rxrfrx at 1:56 PM on May 5, 2005

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