Friday, December 14, 2007

Apple finally sanctions custom ringtones!

Apple has placed the ability to make (free) custom ringtones, courtesy of GarageBand 4.1.1.

read more | digg story

An Apple support document details the procedure:

To create a custom ringtone:
1. Set up a cycle region that covers the area you wish to use in the GarageBand song. Note: This area must be 40 seconds or less in length.
2. Once the cycle area has been set, choose Share > Send Ringtone to iTunes.

Requirements:
- GarageBand 4.1.1 or later
- iTunes 7.5 or later
- iPhone with software version 1.1.2 or later

2 comments:

Tom said...

I disagree with TUAW's view of this because I never felt Apple's ringtones represented "extortion and shakedown". Indeed, I think Apple negotiated the best it could for the iTunes store.

Anyway, what Apple did with GB today was simply... remarkable.

I know that Apple's FairPlay allows use of music in your own personal projects, which is why you can easily bring an iTunes song into GB in the first place. Apple took that capability and, combined with a "ringtone" feature in GB have allowed Mac users to roll their own from their music library.

However, notice that Apple does NOT advertise this in conjunction with iTunes or the online store. In fact, the Apple article specifically states this is for "your original song, your original audio recordings, or use Apple Loops and iLife jingles". They do not state or suggest that you can also do this with your music library.

What will the labels do now? This is a bit of a gamble for Apple and I'm thinking they're hoping for this:

1) The fact that they do not advertise this for your music library, and state it must be "original" music, will help cover them.
2) By not coupling it in any way with iTunes' own ringtone editor, it will help cover them.
3) The fact that it's only GB on the Mac, and therefore a pretty small target group, will help cover them.
4) They may also claim that the FairPlay clause for using your tunes in iLife apps for personal projects covers them anyway.

The record labels, of course, will look at this differently, and there's still that TOS condition against ringtones to contend with.

It will be interesting to see if the labels make any moves here, but I think this was a brilliant move on Apple's part. These guys just get smarter all the time.

fixyourthinking said...

Tom,

I 100% agree with you - although I am disappointed that you must buy iLife 08 to make ringtones ... it doesn't help a perception that Apple isn't a greedy company. Thanks for the comment ... Very insightful