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Learning how to sell ringtones on iTunes didn’t take me much time at all. There was some research involved, but it was minimal. When a text tone I made became popular around my office, I decided it was time to find out how to distribute my ringtone (this link ONLY works from an iDevice) on iTunes.
I have been making ringtones for my personal use for quite a while. And with the current iOS, those ringtones can be used for text tones as well as other types of notifications. Most of the ringtones I created were clips of songs or recordings I had captured. But things have started to evolve. I’ll go over the equipment and software I use as well as the distribution service.
When I started this blog, I knew I would be putting some videos up on YouTube. So one of the first things I did was head over to Amazon and get a microphone. I bought the Yeti from Blue which connects to my MacBook Pro via USB. I absolutely love this thing. It connects super easy and sounds great.
It’s FREE. It’s easy to use. It works on a Mac or PC. It’s Audacity. Audacity is the audio editing and recording software that I use.
There are several distribution sites on the internet. The one I finally decided on was Catapult. This is not a recommendation or an affiliate link. It just happened to be the one I chose after researching all of the other companies I could find.
So why not submit the ringtone to iTunes myself? Well, for starters, I don’t know how. And secondly, I just don’t want to deal with it at this point. It could, for all I know, be an easy process.
There are several things you can do for ringtones or text tones. (Just a side-note: I have been, and will continue to keep, using ringtone/text tone synonymously.) Use your spoken voice, make music if you are that talented, etc… I have also been using Siri for certain comical ringtones. It’s a creative process and yours to come up with.
If you want to use Siri, here is how. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Then go into Speak Selection and turn it on. You may want to adjust the Speaking Rate to make her sound a little more natural. Or you can make her talk extremely fast. It’s up to you. From there, open up your Notes app. Type what you want her to say, highlight it, then tap the Speak option that pops up.
To get that onto your computer, hopefully you have some type of microphone jack. Plug one end into your computer and the other into the headphone jack of your iPhone. Open up Audacity and change the input to the proper channel. Hit the record button in Audacity then hit the speak button on your iPhone.
Something to keep in mind when recording your original tracks. I can’t speak for the other distribution companies, but Catapult has specific guidelines that have to be met to get your ringtone uploaded for distribution. I have to submit my ringtones as a WAV or MP3 in Stereo, 16-bit, with a 44,100 hz Sample Rate. This is easily done in Audacity by changing the default recording preferences.
You will also need cover art for your ringtone. I used Photoshop and just made a generic background with some text containing the name of the ringtone. Don’t have Photoshop? There are quite a few free alternatives out there. Here is an article from Gizmodo with 10 free programs to choose from.
Catapult has some fees that go along with it. And so do all the other services. Catapult charges $9 per ringtone submission. Each submission needs a UPC. If you have one, or know how to get one, great! If not, there is a $20 charge per UPC. When someone buys your ringtone, Apple takes their 30% and pays Catapult 70%. Of that 70%, Catapult keeps 9%. So out of 99¢ ringtone you sell, you get 63¢.
Hopefully this covers the basics of everything you need to know. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a question in the comments below or through Facebook.
Since releasing my tone in the iTunes Store (and posting this), I have received a comment asking if I have made any money. You can check out my response in the comments below.
Since posting my reply to that comment I have received another deposit into my PayPal account. A whopping $2.73!
I know, not very exciting. This brings my total income to $10.92 for two reporting periods. Total downloads for that time period is 12 downloads.
As I mentioned in the comment, these numbers are skewed. When I released the ringtone I contacted 5 of my friends and asked them to buy and review the ringtone. So my actual income is somewhere in the $5-6.00 range.
If you have any other questions or comments let me know. I will try to keep this updated. If you don’t see an update for a while, be sure to call me on it!
OCTOBER 2013 PAYMENT from Catapult was $5.46. I had 6 downloads. As of this writing I have done no further advertising (besides what is being written on this blog).
OCTOBER 2015 UPDATE:
I can’t seem to find the actual date I released this ringtone. But it has been just over two years I’m sure. As you can see above, my all time downloads are 99 with 40 of those being this year. Total payments at $89.13 over that time.
I have since purchased 25 UPC codes for just over $30. I need to get my rear end in gear and come up with some more ringtones. I paid $1.25 per UPC. Catapult charges $20. That is some serious savings when you start adding up ringtone submissions. If you’re interested, I used Nationwide Barcode.