The art of the ringtone
Phone ringtones went from uniform, to a million dollar industry, to the unconscious soundtrack of our lives. They’re pieces of music that are designed to get you to react. They’re sounds that often carry emotions and memories with them. But we don’t often give them much thought.
This hour we explore the art of the ringtone. We’ll look back at their history, investigate their rise and fall, discuss the appeal of a well-composed one, and talk to someone who designed his own.
Warning: This show contains the default iPhone alarm tone.
- Ernie Smith: The editor of Tedium and a contributor to Vice’s Motherboard
- Brian Slattery: Arts Editor for the New Haven Independent and a producer at WNHH radio
- Paula Matthusen: Composer and a Professor of Music at Wesleyan University who teaches experimental music and music technology and directs the laptop ensemble
- Sam Hadelman: Works in music public relations and hosts The Sam Hadelman Show at Radio Free Brooklyn
- Sumanth Gopinath: Associate Professor of Music Theory at the University of Minnesota and the author of The Ringtone Dialectic: Economy and Cultural Form
- Steve Metcalf: Founder and Director of the Garmany Concert Series at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School
Colin McEnroe, Gene Amatruda, Cat Pastor, and Dylan Reyes contributed to this show.