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Mobile phone music from some German Pandas

I do not understand how this works, but it sounds like fun, or at any rate like a ripple of the future:

A band from Germany has adopted a novel approach to getting their music heard by millions.

Super Smart have turned their backs on vinyl and CDs and instead have decided to just release their album as ringtones.

The album, Panda Babies, is published by a German company that focuses on digital music for mobile phones.

So if there’s there is no CD, what does the word “album” mean in this connection? And, if Super Smart are a “band”, what is a Super Smart live gig like? A bunch of Germans waving their portable phones at the audience?

The identity of the four-piece from Munich is shrouded in mystery and in photos they appear with giant panda heads.

“Shrouded in mystery” presumably means that Super Smart is actually one person, and anybody can be a Panda for the photo shoots. The individual, by wearing a uniform, is subordinated to the Greater Whole, dominated by one “Super Smart” individual. Germans eh? – they never change. But I suppose much the same could be said of the Wombles.

I have yet to acquire a mobile phone, so none of this will make any difference to me. But I do have some questions. For example: Can mobile phone music play more than one note at a time, or is it like solo violin music without any double stopping? How long can it go on for? Is any of it any good?

And can I buy a compilation CD of mobile phone Greatest Hits?

8 comments to Mobile phone music from some German Pandas

  • some phones are capable of playing regular music (wav/mp3). my phone only does polyphonic ringtones- meaning the only music i can play sounds like a midi file with no voices.

    i imagine that just because they release their music as ringtones, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t play concerts like any regular band- i just have a feeling that no one would show up to see it. 🙂

  • Dave

    Pretty much all modern phones have a Polyphonic synthethiser built in so they can play any variety of irritating tune. The more expensive can also have .wav or mp3 files as ring tones, although that’s considered cheating in some circles.

    Getting new polyphonic ring tone is easy and a whole business has sprung up around it – a premium SMS message will dump it to your phone for £1 or similar, and then you accept it and install it. Alternatively you can download over WAP internet access – all the operators are setting up portals basically to drive ARPU (Average Revenue per User).

    I understand that basically the ring tones market is now out selling singles, although I can’t see a “Top of the Ring Tones” working quite as well.

    From a revenue protection perspective, the ring tone market is pretty cool – its much easier for operators to instigate DRM (Digital Rights Management) on their own proprietary networks than on something freeform like the Internet, so they’ve pretty much got control of who makes the money and where. While this is small beans at the moment, as we move into 3G and some of the more advanced content services, expect to see a lot more innovative ways of parting the customer from their cash.

    i-mode in Japan has been doing this for years with a micro-billing solution, but due to a variety of government and EU issues on money lending its still early days in Europe.

  • This is disturbing news. Why can’t phones just ring anymore? They’re supposed to be annoying. That’s what makes you answer one. I would begin listening to the music and forget that it was coming from my phone.

  • zmollusc

    Does the ability of phones to use mp3 for their ringtone + the need for ringtones to be annoying + modern music being bowel-clenchingly annoying = Huge conspiracy?
    I think we should be told.

  • Ted Schuerzinger


    You don’t find cellphone ringtones annoying? 🙂

  • Ted, I’ve had friends use good songs for their cell phones. We’d all start listening to the music and forget it was coming from a phone. Amusing to everyone except the person on the other end waiting for someone to answer the phone.

  • Bernie

    Well everyone above seems to have missed the most remarkable aspect of Brian’s post which is that he still does not own a mobile phone. Congratulations Brian. I had resisted for some time but eventually got one back in ’97 so I am very impressed.

  • pandaninja

    does anyone have an email add for the german pandas please