Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Roll Your Own Ringtone

Wired News reported Cell-phone customers have spent more than $4 billion on ringtones taken primarily from popular hits. Now MIT's Media Lab hopes to unleash some new creativity into this market with a ringtone composition tool to the masses for free.

On Friday, the university handed out awards for original ringtone compositions created using its Hyperscore songwriting software. U2's the Edge acted as one of the judges, although he did not attend the event. "Ringtones are a legitimate branch of pop music, and this is a great opportunity for up-and-coming songwriters to create something designed specifically for the medium," said Edge.

Hyperscore is now on hundreds of thousands of computers and is integrated into music education programs across the globe. The program will be included on MIT's $100 laptop, to be handed out to thousands of school kids around the world next year. And Windows users can now download the basic model, which limits song lengths to 30 to 60 seconds, for free. (Mac and Linux versions are in the works.)

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