пятница, 29 февраля 2008 г.

MP3 Ringtones

Mobile phones have become one of the most prominent status symbols. It has gone beyond a mere tool to make and receive calls. It's an expression of identity; a fashion statement; and with Mp3 ringtones, a way of injecting your own groove into your daily grind.

An Mp3 is a compressed audio file. For years, music lovers have exchanged these files on the Internet, playing them on their PCs or from dedicated Mp3 players. But then the mobile phone companies latched on to a brilliant idea: why not use those music files as ringtones, replacing the dull and sometimes annoying clanging sound that has been the trademark alert for incoming calls.

There is a wide variety of Mp3 ringtones, as wide as the range of music itself. From Mozart to Madonna, the Beatles to Britney Spears, or even commercial jingles, national anthems, cartoon themes, gospel music, nursery rhymes, even beat poetry. If you've ever hummed it, sang it, or tapped your feet to it, there's an Mp3 version waiting to be played on your phone.

Mp3 ringtones can also be a good measure of how a movie or a sitcom has infiltrated into pop culture. There are ringtones that are actually snippets from famous scenes of Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings; while themes from The Brady Bunch bring smiles to anyone who has ever watched the show.

But there's more. Mp3 ringtones aren't even limited to just music. You can pick from a wide variety of sounds. A baby crying. A cow mooing. A woman moaning in ecstasy (how's that to break the monotony of your board meeting?).In the Philippines, when wiretapped phone calls between the president and an election commissioner revealed possibility of election fraud, fragments of that phone call were even used as Mp3 ringtones-either as a sign of protest or to make fun of the situation.

All these ringtones are easily downloadable, but for those who truly want a unique sound they can even make their own ringtones. Some record the voices of their children. Others save romantic missives from a loved one. People also record the laughter of friends, or a fragment from a child's Christmas performance, or even a beloved pet's barking. While other people may not appreciate the Mp3, the fact that it has a personal meaning makes those ringtones music to the owners' ears.

So why do people use Mp3 ringtones? The same reason they pick the shirt they are wearing: it reflects the owners' personality. When they say my phone, they mean it in more ways than one. Sociologists say that people are driven to express identities in external symbols. It is part of our communal nature: this is me, this is the group I belong to. Primitive societies wore jewelry beads and animal teeth; some developed tattoos; and later on, developed clothes and other accessories. The phone is no different. Like feathers on a tribesman cap, it signals to everyone else who we are.

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