So this Saturday I did something I haven’t done in ages. I made a ringtone for my phone. It’s a snippet of Justin Timberlake’s new song (well a snippet of the beat he was creating at the beginning of the music video), and it felt weird. Not the act of creating the ringtone, but actually realizing that it’s a dying art.
I know I’m not the only one who’s realized that ringtones aren’t a thing anymore. When did this happen and who made the decision that leaving our phones on vibrate is now the norm? Did this happen when wearables got popular? I mean, I prefer to leave my phone on vibrate when I’m at work and get the notifications on my Apple Watch, but I like to have it ring when I’m out of the office.
And we all know that ringtones have come a long way. From your standard “ring” to the Nokia ringtone that everyone and their mom had, to the rise of polyphonic ringtones, having snippets of songs as your ringer (preferably a different one for all of your favorite contacts), ringback tones and then the iPhone “chimes” ringtone that was popular for awhile. We’ve come a long way since the first wave of cell phones, but with this sudden transition to just leaving our phones on vibrate I feel like we’re taking a step back.
Your ringtone used to show off your sense of style and creativity. I don’t know about y’all, but me and my middle sister used to actually create our own polyphonic ringtones off of radio tunes back in the day. In fact, I think I’ve only paid for a handful of ringtones in my entire life and I’ve had hundreds. Between composing polyphonic ones on my old Nokia, recording snippets from the radio on flip phones, making small mp3 snippets for later models and now doing the same but with m4r’s on my iPhone. My ringtone was a way for me to share my personality and whatever I loved at the moment with those around me. I always had *NSYNC’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” as my ringtone during the holidays and at one point I had over 50 different ringtones on my phone and all of the people I contacted most had personalized ones. My Alpha Chi sorority sisters had the “Alpha Chi” rap song, my parents had “Already Home” by Jay-Z and Kid Cudi, my middle sister had “Capri” by Colbie Caillat, etc. And y’all this was only like 10 years ago. The fact that I remember what ringtones I had for them back then shows you how committed I was to that ringtone life.
Since then I’ve calmed down a bit. I think I only have like 4 personalized ringtones on my phone and all of them are either instrumentals or the instrumental breakdown on that particular song. I don’t know what it is, but I just feel like it’s more acceptable to have the beginning of Calvin Harris’ “Slide” than one of Frank Ocean’s verses on it. Or that it’s better for me to have Justin beatboxing on “TKO” instead of him singing the chorus. I guess I’ll just feel better if my phone randomly rings in meeting or at church if those are playing instead of hearing someone croon for 10-15 seconds.
What about y’all? Do you feel the same way? Do you use the stock ringtones that came on your phone or do you typically leave it on vibrate? Do you miss the days of waiting for your favorite part of your favorite song to come on the radio and record the snippet on your phone? Please just don’t tell me you’re one of those people who still has a ringback tone. Phone carriers should no longer be supporting those! Comment below and let me know y’all!