If you have an iPhone you may have noticed that making your own ringtones from audio files you already own is a complete and total pain. While ringtones you purchase and download from the iTunes store are super easy, your own tunes and sounds are a complete and utter exercise in frustration. There are two reasons for this:
One: There is a different set of copyrights involved between a song you download for listening to versus a song you are downloading as a ringtone, and this leads to a digital divide between the two, and
Two: Ringtone sales a a massive cash cow for both Apple and the record labels that own the rights to the songs, and they are not going to give that up by making it easy for you to brew your own.
This is not just an iPhone/ Apple phenomenon, either. Most cellular carriers and handset manufacturers are are also in on this … if they do not outright deny you any way to get homebrew ringtones on a device, they manage to put up enough roadblocks that most people give up and hand over their coin for the “official” method.
Welcome to “I Want Free Ringtones“, a website that acts as a filter, processor, and host for converting your own audio files into delicious and free (as in free beer) ringtones. It is dead simple, too: You upload your file, use the site’s tools to crop it for time (if you didn’t or couldn’t do that at your end beforehand) and adjust the volume, preview the thing with the on-line audio player, and then either save the result back to your hard drive or leave it hosted on the site so you can surf to it later. It’s fast, super easy, and works exactly as advertised. You can save the files as QCP (lo-fi tones, for the Motorola crowd), M4A or MP3 (hi-fi tones for the rest of the world), or M4R (the special Apple hi-fi format that the iPhone is looking for).
The hosting function, by the way, is perfect for Blackberry users – one of the slickest parts of the BB package is that you can use the web browser to surf to an MP3 file you create with this tool and use a single click to convert the target file into a ringtone that you install over the air. Better, you can share your creations with your friends just by passing around the URL.
The whole thing is a total hoot no matter what phone you carry. But – for Blackberry users who want to stretch their legs and for iPhone users tired of trying to navigate the gordian knot of M4R files – this is the greatest thing since sliced pizza.