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phone ringtones



today i read an interesting article on 99percentinvisible.org about the origin of phone ringtones and how they have acted in accordance to the changing design and technology world. you can read it here: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/all-rings-considered/ the first custom ringtone was created by vesku-matti paananen, a finnish man who found his nokia's ringtone mundane and annoying. after experimenting with his own phone's ringtone, vesku wanted everyone to be able to hear what they wanted to hear upon their cellphones ringing. radiolinja, a finnish wireless provider, accepted vesku's proposal and started to hire composers such as mike levine. polyphonic ringtone composers flourished from this proposal in various companies, but were soon put out by the rise of a company called real tones, which started creating ringtones out of existing, licensed music(it is worth noting that they started to rise in the early 2000s, when file sharing started to collapse the music industry). however, real tones did not sustain because people started to create their own ringtones, making the purchase of custom ringtones useless. additionally, the new emerging era of scam calls, smartphones, and texting diminished the use of phone calling for convenience and less interrupting sounds. i think that this is a strong example of how the design industry in any field can die out if it cannot adapt to changing conditions. even though the death of the ringtone industry is not anyone's fault, the way that consumers have settled into new technologies rendered the industry useless in a quickly-changing contemporary era. even though i do not frequently make phone calls myself and set my phone on vibrate to avoid disturbances, i can appreciate the composition of original ringtones much more upon learning about the passion of the composers, and i do hope that these composers have adapted to the changing job economy.

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