How do you jam out on your phone?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| January 12, 2014

The evolution of music on phones is fascinating for sure - and by "fascinating" I mean that when you look back and see how much it has changed, it really just results in bittersweet nostalgia. Music on phones "back in the day", if you will, were certainly no picnic. In fact, I imagine it even follows the "gets worse before it gets better" motto. Once upon a time, it was fairly cringe-worthy to listen to music on your phone.

When cell phones first emerged, you used what were called monophonic ringtones. It sounds exactly as you picture it would, with one note being played at a time to resemble a song or a tune that you've probably heard play more professionally. It might not have been the fanciest, but it got the job done. Not long after monophonic ringtones were introduced, polyphonic ringtones came along. And let me tell you something if you've never had the pleasure of owning a cell phone that could only play monophonic or polyphonic ringtones - polyphonic tones were the bee's knees. I personally loved my Titanic ringtone. I think I loved Leonardo DiCaprio a little bit more each time I got a phone call.

This is where things get messy - real ringtones. Like, the ringtones that let you listen to actual music. Sounded great in theory, but you have to remember that this was back in a time where speakers weren't the priority in cell phones. So just when you thought you would be the coolest person around by having that Aerosmith ringtone? You weren't. Instead of playing "Dude Looks Like A Lady" you played something like "Drrrude lpphks like a rrrrrrrrrrrrrradaygh!" and caused most people within a 10 foot radius to go deaf if you had it on high volume. But it was a good beginning. Also, real ringtones was the beginning of being able to actually host real music files on your phone. They might have been short clips, but it was something.

Then came the media phones. These phones are actually coined "messaging phones", but back then these were the prime rib or the filet mignon of cell phones. Why? Because these were the phones that started rolling out with the ability to support 1 and 2GB of memory on SD cards. With these phones you were able to actually load music onto your phone and listen to them instead of having to tote around an extra mp3 player along with you. If you were really lucky, you had a phone like this that could support up to 4GB of memory. Wow!

And then we get to the fun part, and that's where we are today - smartphones. Smartphones are great for music, but they provide us with more than just a lot of memory for storing music and other media. Since smartphones also have applications available in their markets, there are a lot of different ways to listen to music on our phones now. Of course we can still load music onto our smartphones, but now we have a lot of other options like listening to Pandora, Spotify, Google Music, and even Beats Music soon. Personally, I've stopped loading music onto my phone and have started usig applications like Spotify and Pandora to get my mobile music fix on. Not only does it save me money every month, but it's also a lot more convenient for me.

It's interesting to see the progression of music in cell phones. Sometimes I still laugh thinking about how I used to sit there and listen to little clips of my favorite songs out loud with my friends on my clamshell phone, with quality so horrible that you hardly knew what song you were listening to. Fortunately, smartphones have made listening to music a much more pleasurable experience.

Readers, how do you jam out on your phone? Do you prefer to load your own music onto your phone, or do you use specific applications to get your music fix?