Unique cell phone rings gain popularity
By Jenee Osterheldt, KRT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -When Cassie
Keller gets a phone call, a lot more happens than an archaic "ring, ring."
Instead, her cell phone launches into this: meow-meow-meow-meow,
Right. The "Meow Mix" TV jingle.
That's how it rings for the unidentified callers, says Keller, a senior who
attends Fort Hays State University via the Internet from her Fairway, Kan.,
Just about everyone in her cell phonebook has been assigned a distinct ring. For
her mom, there's a rodeo song and her boss has an ambulance siren. She even has
the Kansas Jayhawks fight song, and snippets from the movie Office Space and
Chappelle's Show. Then there's her personal favorite, Build Me Up, Buttercup by
"I like the fact that I can tell who is calling," Keller says. "If the phone is
in the other room you can hear it and tell who is calling. It's funny. I have
even had people request ringers; it's like you can give different personalities
to different people."
Keller gets her ringers from her wireless provider, Sprint, as well as from Web
sites like www.3gupload.com and www.matrixm.com.
Most Web sites have a yearly fee that gives customers access to unlimited
ringers, games and screensavers. Some even let you make your own ring tone. At
www.3gforfree.com, you can pay $7 a year for unlimited downloads. Other sites,
like matrixm.com, sell individual ring tones, starting at $1; a few are offered
for free. And you can access the sites from your PC or your cell phone, if your
phone has Internet access.
U.S. cell phone owners spent more than $75 million on ring tones in 2003,
according to research by In-Stat/MDR, a digital communications research firm.
Researchers predict cell users will spend $146 million this year.
They won't see any of Kristen Vincent's money.
"I think I would have a hard time paying for ring tones," says Vincent, 39, a
Hallmark associate product manager. "You have to pay to download music already,
gas prices are already higher, and with people just trying to survive, it's just
hard to see myself paying for a ring tone."