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Tapio Hakanen, Nokia
My team is responsible for designing the ringtones, alarms and alert sounds on Nokia mobile phones. There are 1.3bn Nokia handsets in use around the world so our tunes are among the most frequently played music on the planet.
We are currently working on the 10th evolution of our trademark Nokia ringtone, taken from a piece of guitar music called ‘Gran Vals’ by the Spanish composer Francisco Tárrega. It was first used in a Nokia television advertisement in the early 1990s and has been our default ringtone ever since.
About 40 per cent of people use our pre-loaded tunes rather than downloading new ones. After the initial craze for using pop songs as ringtones, there has been a shift back towards more functional sounds.
We spend a lot of time working on the message alert even though it is only two seconds long. It is essential to get it right because people hear it so often.
Nokia has studios in London and Espoo, Finland, and we do outdoor recordings to capture real-life sounds. Once, we lowered a microphone beneath the ice of a frozen river to record the water running underneath.
We monitor new music trends around the world and tailor the choice of ringtones for local tastes in China, India and the Middle East.
I joined Nokia three years ago and have been a DJ and recording artist for two decades. There are limitations on the music you can produce through a mobile phone, but that forces you to be more creative.