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The Ringtone Dialectic – Economy and Cultural Form - MIT Press Scholarship Online
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The Ringtone Dialectic: Economy and Cultural Form

Sumanth Gopinath


A decade ago, the customizable ringtone was ubiquitous. Almost any crowd of cell phone owners could produce a carillon of tinkly, beeping, synthy, musicalized ringer signals. Ringtones quickly became a multi-billion-dollar global industry and almost as quickly faded away. This book charts the rise and fall of the ringtone economy and assesses its effect on cultural production. The book describes the technical and economic structure of the ringtone industry, considering the transformation of ringtones from monophonic, single-line synthesizer files to polyphonic MIDI files to digital sound files ... More

Keywords: ringtone, cell phones, ringtone economy, digital sound, Gloriagate, Jia Zhangke, pop music

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780262019156
Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2014 DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262019156.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sumanth Gopinath, author

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