There are a lot of ways that you can make a ringtone for your fans (Google it), but the advent of smartphones means that simply supplying your fans with the file in the right format (pretty much anything for Android but M4R for iPhone) and telling them how to upload the tone to their phone usually sees great results.
It’s weird, but people (and I am one) just don’t delve into what their phones can do unless given a nudge – we are all too busy – but if you help your fans to use your music as a ringtone, many will. Does it help promote your music and your band? – a little, and every little counts.
Of course, there are also very many ways that you can sell your music as ringtones – again Google ‘sell music as ringtone’ and see, or start with this article from Hypebot.
BUT, until you have a sizeable following, I wouldn’t bother selling ringtones – the cost is usually high to set it up and the returns are low unless you become a mass market phenomenon.
Giving them away is the ideal answer.
Make up audio files in the correct formats and simply have a page on your site that offers them for free download (behind an email sign-up is obviously best practice). Also, spend some time explaining how fans can get the file from your site to their phone – maybe a YouTube video and a blog post can do that? The ringtones don’t just have to be parts of songs – you could create music especially or record some kind of talking / shouting – whatever you think your fans would like.
This article from Evolver.fm set me off on this train of thought. Their piece talks about making ringtones form any file – even a YouTube video – and has a clear explanation of how the ringtone tool at Brinked.com can be used to make the files.
Most smartphones fall on the side of allowing you to choose any audio as your ringtone, but it’s not the simplest thing in the world to make them and transfer them to your phone — especially on the iPhone.
Brinked.com offers a nice web app for converting any MP3, WAV or OGG music file into a ringtone, but we were more interested to see that it’s also capable of grabbing the audio from YouTube videos and making ringtones out of those, for free.