Although Im likely to be flamed for it, Ill give my 3.5 cents on the positive side of how Apple has decided to bring ring tones to the iPhone. Yes, this will be a long post.
To those that dislike the idea, if you happen to have a job then you get paid to do a certain amount of work at a particular company. As long as what youre doing is legal, you would probably be happier if you got paid more for whatever it is you do. Youre also likely to be upset if you were paid less. So if a group of businesses discovered a way to do what you do, yet do it for free, does it take much smarts to figure out very soon youre either going to get paid less, lose your job, or your company would be forced to change with the times? You wouldnt like that, would you?
In other words, I find it amusing that some people tend to point fingers and say a company such as Apple is greedy or taking advantage of a new feature or technology yet, at the same time, whatever it is that same person does for work, they get paid for it and they themselves say they arent greedy. Most people make sure they get paid for what they do and dont apologize for it. Thats fair. But turn that around, however, and somehow many of those same people cry foul that everything else on the planet isnt free. They demand they can buy it once and use forever for everything.
So please excuse me, whatever someone legally does for a living means someone else is willing to pay for that product or service. Saying others are stupid for wanting ring tones, let alone paying for it, is just as naive (or stupid) as saying others shouldnt have to pay for parking, selling things on eBay, having voicemail on their home phone, using satellite radio, GPS, movie rentals, or playing online multiplayer games. People demand different things and with new technologies new demands and markets open up. Thats progress. It may not be a product or service you would use but that doesnt make you smart and it certainly doesn't make others suckers or stupid.
Right now, as you read this, there are millions of people that work ten times harder than we do and make, at most, $3 a day. Whether thats stripping a ship in a dry-dock filled with toxic chemicals, digging for diamonds, or whatever, if its not food or clothing then you would have a tough time convincing them whatever you pay for makes any sense.
Do you have sneakers? TV? Cable? A camera? A computer? The Internet? Own a bike or a car? In any case they would think you insane. Do you really need any of these to live? So with that said, in the context of our very capitalistic countries, which Im very glad I live in rather than a third world country, embracing most new technologies is a good thing. Millions wish they had the spare time to worry over what music they could listen to, let alone actually hold (or own) their own house phone. Moreso a cell phone.
Music was intended to be listened to and enjoyed, but our great technology has taken us far beyond what most musicians envisioned a decade ago. Shouldnt both they and those involved in their related industry gain from new advances? Today we have ring tones how long will it be before we have ring tones for our doorbell, car alarm, or voicemail greeting? Ok, should an artist get paid once to make a song or video or movie and then get nothing nothing more for when technology advanced to where people can enjoy what they made on TV, then their computer, then their portable device, then their car, etc.?
With that said, Apple is introducing a great way for people to customize their own ring tones using only iTunes. Buy ring tones from elsewhere for above $1.50 and thats all you get, the ring tone, not the song with it. With Apples planned tactic you get both the song and the ring tone. If you already have the song, its just the extra for the ring tone. I fail to see how anyone could have a problem with that. And btw, its not your song, its the artist and their related enterested parties. What, you want them to continue making music for free? How about they walk into your home and demand you work for free too. You wouldn't like that, would you? Maybe your tune would change if you were a musician and music was how you fed your family and paid for your bills.
Think about it, you work for years to finally get a contract, perhaps have a couple concerts, and now thousands love your music and are paying for CDs and music downloads. However, just when your new hit song or album grows up the charts, you're hearing others setting your songs to ringtones on a fast growing industry (cell phones) or using as backgrounds on their web pages, etc., and you don't get another dime? They should be free to use it at will? They paid for your song or album and can digitally splice and dice your words, music, and more how they please on whatever device that plays sound? Really, if that was your way of making a living, would you really embrace the idea that it should be free?
Actually, all of us are very lucky, it wasnt too long ago the music industry was trying to destroy mp3 all together. Remember? It exists now because theres a demand (and profit) in it. That why, unless anyone misses the point, businesses stay in business.
I might not convince anyone to embrace Apples ring tones but the overall picture should be crystal clear. Years ago, you couldnt rent, let alone buy, movies. Ever. Then came the beta and VHS and soon came movie rentals and buying the movie outright. Now we have the same with music CDs and movie DVDs. The future is online music, videos, gaming, and cell phones which soon will allow us to pay for things just like a wallet in some places you can already. But the point is technology moves far faster than any of us and those that stick their head in the sand and say thats stupid, I wouldnt do that, anyone who would is stupid is, by proven history of our technology and our culture, ahem, either naïve, or stupid.