RealNetworks Aims to Resurrect Ringback Tones with LISTEN App

Remember ringback tones? There was once a time when you'd be hard pressed not to hear a pop song in place of the standard ringing noise when you called up your best friend. RealNetworks is looking to revitalize that experience, as the company's upcoming  LISTEN app for iOS and Android gives users a bevy of options for setting up their call sounds. 

The LISTEN app allows users to assign specific ringback tones for different callers and uses your phone history to place your favorite contacts front and center. You'll have to purchase any ringback tones you want to use, but LISTEN syncs with your music library to offer suggestions. Once you set a ringback tone for your friend on LISTEN, they'll get a text message letting them know that a song has been chosen for them. 

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While setting ringback tones for old feature phones typically consisted of sending a text message to a provider with few options for changing your tone, LISTEN aims to make the process appropriately seamless for the smartphone age. The app does more than play music, as you can set LISTEN to play a specific voice message when you're in a meeting or on the road. 

RealNetworks is still finalizing the music selection for the app's launch date, but the company says you'll be able to download tones from popular artists like Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj. If you're looking for a streamlined take on the ringback tones of old, LISTEN will launch in November in the U.K. and globally in 2014 as a free app with a premium version for an estimated $3. 

Michael Andronico
A devout gamer and tech enthusiast, Mike Andronico joined the Laptop team in July 2013. With a B.A. in Journalism from Purchase College and experience at GameNGuide, Examiner and 2D-X, Mike tackles everything from iPhone rumors to in-depth hardware reviews.