In this Book

The Ringtone Dialectic
summary
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. In <I>The Ringtone Dialectic</I>, Sumanth Gopinath charts the rise and fall of the ringtone economy and assesses its effect on cultural production.Gopinath 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 and the concomitant change in the nature of capital and rent accumulation within the industry. He discusses sociocultural practices that seemed to wane as a result of these shifts, including ringtone labor, certain forms of musical notation and representation, and the creation of musical and artistic works quoting ringtones. Gopinath examines "declines," "reversals," and "revivals" of cultural forms associated with the ringtone and its changes, including the Crazy Frog fad, the use of ringtones in political movements (as in the Philippine "Gloriagate" scandal), the ringtone's narrative function in film and television (including its striking use in the films of the Chinese director Jia Zhangke), and the ringtone's relation to pop music (including possible race and class aspects of ringtone consumption). Finally, Gopinath considers the attempt to rebrand ringtones as "mobile music" and the emergence of cloud computing.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. 2-7
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Introduction
  2. pp. xiii-xxiv
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. I. The Rise and Fall of the Ringtone Economy
  2. pp. 1-2
  1. 1. This Business of Ringtones: The Unstable Value Chain and Accumulation of Capital by Rent in the Global Ringtone Industry
  2. pp. 3-52
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. II. Ramifications of the Ringtone’s Identity Crisis: The Social and Cultural Fallout of Technological Transformation
  2. pp. 53-56
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2. Ringtones and the Deskilling of Mobile-Musical Labor: A Preliminary Investigation
  2. pp. 57-80
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3. Left Behind: Case Studies of Decline and Recapitulation in the Ringtone as Representation
  2. pp. 81-100
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4. The Ringtone and Its Aesthetic Subgenres in Contemporary Classical Music and Media Performance/Installation Art
  2. pp. 101-128
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. III. The Ringtone’s Dialectical Reversals
  2. pp. 129-132
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 5. The Annoying Thing: Crazy Frog and the Strange Career of a Sample
  2. pp. 133-150
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 6. The Voice of the Politician and the Geographic Dispersion of the Political Ringtone
  2. pp. 151-182
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 7. A Spectrum of Forms: The Aesthetic Logic of Original Sound-File Ringtone Composition
  2. pp. 183-200
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. IV. Revivals and the (Universal) Particularization of the Ringtone
  2. pp. 201-204
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 8. Personalization and Spectatorship: The Ringtone’s Narrative Functions in Cinematic and Televisual Media
  2. pp. 205-240
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 9. What’s in a Name? Race and the Ringtone’s Revival in (Un-)Popular Music
  2. pp. 241-268
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 269-280
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 281-360
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 361-368
  3. restricted access Download |
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.