In a world of convergence and rapid assimilation, it is impressive to observe so much cash-cow hype surrounding a concept and service as simple and unimpressive as ringtones. To me, the idea that ringtones are being charted and built into business models is more a sign of the bewilderedness of management than of the value-added for consumers. Ringtones provided lucky early-adopters over $3billion in sales last year, and it will go on for some time, but I find it hard to imagine long term viability in a business concentrating solely or primarily on the production and distribution of these clips. Especially when cellphones are quickly being produced with increased memory capacity and audio compatibility, like this Nokia that can store 4GBs worth or music. This will inevitably lead to mass adoption of mp3 ringtone options that will be legally produced by individuals at home with free audio editing software. Anyway, here’s a step by step look at a quick and fairly inexpensive way to make ringtones at your home/independent label headquarters. Xingtone’s software (which I found via Hashim’s site) is decent because it allows people with older cellphone models (they still need web/email access) to get their ringtones into their cellphones. Eventually the program will not be very useful, as most new phones are more like pda’s and will have usb ports or memory sticks to transfer data. If you’re interested in this subject I suggest reading Sasha Frere-Jones’ piece from the New Yorker. By the way, please note I’m not knocking small businesses that have made a killing selling ringtones at $2-$4 bucks a pop. I’m just pointing out that it is very interesting (and disappointing) to know that executive management teams of organizations as large and potentially resourceful as Sony Music are willing to direct so much money and time to developing models for something that will be incredibly easy for people to produce at home on a bare-bones computer with free software. Before I end my rant, another interesting thing to note is the copyright issue. The ringtone retailers have been paying for the rights to sell these loops. This cost probably dribbles down to the end consumer which is probably why ringtones tend to be more than 99c singles from iTunes. As Sasha points out, “Polyphonic ringtones are essentially cover versions of songs: aggregators must pay royalties to the publisher, who then pays the songwriter…master tones are compressed versions of original recordings, which means that record labels—the entities that typically own recordings—are entitled to collect a fee, too.” But, as duly noted later in his article and to the detriment of big labels trying to cash in on a song’s worth once via cd and again via ringtones “…transferring music that you own to your phone is legal under copyright law.” I know I’m not going to pay twice to have Meaty Ogre beats blasting out of my cellphone. step-by-step, article