Retro Ringtones Can Make Real Music

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
April 7 2014 10:37 AM

Retro Ringtones Can Make Real Music

Deep down, you know that the old cellphones in your junk drawer need to be recycled. But if you want another excuse to put off that thorough spring-cleaning, here’s one: There's orchestral potential in that drawer.

For its 30th anniversary, SK Telecom, one of the biggest mobile carriers in South Korea, wired 30 phones and four pagers together to make music that spans the history of ringtones. And what came out of it is actually ... music. Amazingly, the composition won’t shred your eardrums. In fact, it uses the different tones and timbres well. It might take a lot of effort to turn your old flip phones into something so harmonious, but it certainly puts them to good use before they hit the recycling plant.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

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