Did a little experiment earlier this month…
In December T-Mobile became the first domestic wireless provider to offer ringbacks, which they branded “CallerTunes.” It allows you to “replace the boring ‘ring-ring’ with your choice of the hottest song, celebrity voice, and comedy clips.” It didn’t take long for me to realize CallerTunes will confuse the shit out of anyone calling. So I bought one just to hear everyone’s reaction. Here’s a sampling.
“Scott, what was that? It didn’t ring.”
“That is RETARDED. Change it now.”
“Scott, change that NOW. It’s so fucking annoying.”
The most common reaction was not to leave a message out of protest (or in my mom’s case, confusion). Everyone hated the idea of CallerTunes, especially the one I chose:
Even worse, if your phone happens to be off, the ringback is looped. “Snoop Dogg here. Did you expect a ring? I’m waiting for them to answer too. Snoop Dogg here. Did you expect a ring? I’m waiting for them to answer too. Snoop Dogg here. Did you expect a ring? I’m waiting for them to answer too…” For this privilege it’ll cost you $1.49/month for the service plus $1.99 for each CallerTune.
After a few days I went back to “ring-ring.”
Admittedly it would’ve been less annoying if I chose a song as opposed to a voicetone. But how long before CallerTunes/RingBacks/Etc… become popular enough so the caller isn’t confused? (Ringbacks are a huge hit in India; more than one in 10 cellphones have them.)
Is this a great marketing tool for new music or a gimmick that will never take off?
Related: What’s your ringtone these days?