Mobile ring tone mania invades streets

  • 2001-06-07
  • Jorgen Johansson
RIGA - Nowadays, it seems, every single inhabitant of Riga has a mobile phone. The electronic communication gadget is gaining more popularity with every passing year. Out in the streets there's a constant hullabaloo of irritating tunes clanging in the air, everything from "classical music" to more recent chart hits like Bon Jovi's "It's my life."

What on earth inspires people to choose the strain to which they get alerted to incoming phone calls?

Aigars Graudums, a student, has a mobile phone that sounds off a grating drone called "Flight of the bumble bee." He said he chose it because it is easy to hear. It is.

"I don't know anyone with this ring tone, so it's very easy to hear in crowds," Graudums said, and added with a smile: "Plus I don't think many people could stand this noise for a long time."

Later models of mobile phones offer the possibility to program a more authentic ring tone, should one of the pre-programmed melodies already provided on the phone not be preferred by the user.

Additional choices for songs can be found on the Internet, which can easily be downloaded for a small fee, or sometimes even for free. On some special sites it's even possible to find the notes to favorite tunes and then skillfully add them to your mobile song library.

Salesman Gints Auzans downloaded for his mobile phone the infamous ABBA hit, "Money, money, money," after careful consideration of other alternatives. He said he believes the future will prove that the Internet is the most popular place to find mobile ring tones.

"I found a site with this great song, downloaded it and paid just $3 with my Visa card for it," Auzans said. "I think people want to have more personal tones on their phones."

Auzans' phone is of a later model, which can send and receive information through an infrared connection. The small, shiny black area located, generally, near the top of the phone enables him to communicate with laptops and other mobile phones with the same function.

"I wouldn't buy a particular phone for a ring tone, but I wouldn't buy a phone which can't communicate with computers either," the salesman said.

When asked why he chose to download his ring tone he laughed and said: "It's what everybody wants: money."

Sabine Zagare, who works as an English teacher, said she can't afford an expensive mobile phone. "There are very few songs I can choose from on my phone. I chose a song called 'That's it,' which sounds like the old 'Shave and a Haircut' song of earlier days, because it's short and simple. It doesn't make sense to have a very long ring tone, because you never hear it to the end anyway."

Even if Zagare could afford a more recent model she claims she wouldn't buy one. "There are more important things I need to spend my money on, like the phone bill."

Still, there are people who will go that extra mile to personalize their mobile phones.

"It took me a long time to get my song right," said secretary Inese Melgalve. "I have many friends, so my phone rings all the time."

Melgalve has orchestrated her own ring tone, and it trumpeted frequently when she spoke to The Baltic Times.

"I think I have the best ring tone in the world, because it is mine. I will never change it," she said. "Unless there is a phone that can play real songs, like on the radio. Then I would want anything by Depeche Mode, because they are just the best."