You might be surprised to hear that ringtones earned the music business almost half of its income from mobile phones in 2010, according to Midem. That's nearly £4bn that phone-wagging noise polluters handed over worldwide -- more than mobile music sales and streaming combined!
Well, the industry's going to earn a few pennies less because we're about to arm CNET UK readers with the knowledge to make their own ringtones for free. It only takes a few minutes and you'll never have to pay for a ringtone again, so read on or hit play on the 30 second video above to find out how.
This guide is only for iPhone owners with access to GarageBand on a Mac, but revolutions usually start small...
Shall we begin?
- Pick the song you want as your ringtone from iTunes and drag it to your desktop for easy access.
- Open GarageBand, click New Project on the left and pick Piano; save your project with the name of the song you are copying, or something you will easily remember.
- We don't need the Piano track, so go to the menu bar and click Track > Delete Track.
- Drag your song from the desktop to the large dark grey area in GarageBand and wait a moment for it to load.
- Click this button (see below) to turn off the metronome. This makes a ticking sound, which musicians normally use to keep the correct tempo while they play along with their instruments, but we don't need it today.
- Now click the button next to the metronome that looks like two arrows circling each other. This enables a yellow bar at the top of the GarageBand window, which we will use to select a section of the song to save as a ringtone.
- Play the song and look out for the part that you want to be your ringtone. Intros usually work well, or you might prefer to find the chorus. Hit the spacebar to play the song. When you find the part you want, note the numbers on the ruler along the top to remember where it is. It might help to zoom in or out using the slider near the bottom left.
- Drag the yellow bar to the section you want to save as a ringtone. Zoom right in at the start and end of the yellow bar to get the timings just right. This can be a little fiddly, but with some practice you should start to recognise the part you want.
- In the menu bar, click Share > Send Ringtone to iTunes.
- Open iTunes and click Tones in the sidebar to check your new ringtone has imported correctly.
Now you can connect your iPhone and sync the new ringtone. If you've never used ringtone syncing, you'll find it under Tones at the top of your usual iPhone sync page.
With a little practice, you'll become a ringtone editing master. Why not try applying a fade-out to your ringtone for a smooth ending, or even some weird effects to make your phone sound original?
You don't have to use songs either. By dragging all sorts of sound effects into GarageBand, you can convert them into a ringtone. Alternatively, record your own music or noises straight into GarageBand.