Crazy Frog mania grows as ringtone spawns two singles

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The Independent Culture

It started life as a soundtrack for an animated frog aptly named "Annoying Thing", before breaking internet records as one of the most downloaded mobile phone ringtones in history.

It started life as a soundtrack for an animated frog aptly named "Annoying Thing", before breaking internet records as one of the most downloaded mobile phone ringtones in history.

Now like it or loathe it, the distinctive "ring-a-ding" of the motorbike-riding Crazy Frog is about to be broadcast from a radio near you. Two singles based on the Crazy Frog chorus, which has been downloaded in Europe 11 million times over six years, are being unleashed on the British public this month.

The first is an official house version produced by Jamster, the mobile content company that owns the rights to the Crazy Frog, using the "Axel F" theme tune from the 1984 movie Beverly Hills Cop.

The second is by the Radio 1 DJ Wes Butters, who was inundated with requests to play the ringtone again after sneaking it on to his playlist early one morning.

Butters said his team, which has called itself Pondlife, originally decided to make a single after seeing the advert featuring the tune in a pub one evening in December.

"Most of us have it as a ringtone and we just came up with the idea," he said. "Everyone is talking about it. It's completely perfected the love it or hate it thing that is instrumental in any novelty record.

"It could have been just another ringtone but the reason it has sold was its talkability."

The rival - and official - version has already enjoyed incredible success, knocking Britney Spears off the top spot of the UK's online stream chart on the AOL music channel on the day it was released on the internet. Almost 200,000 users rushed to download the single created by the German production team Bass Bumpers, due to be released on 23 May. Its animated video featuring the frog is the most streamed on various websites.

The Pondlife version, "Ring Ding Ding", the combined effort of Butters, Maurice Cheetham, the former Virgin Radio breakfast DJ Daryl Denham and the producer Trevor Jordon, is set to enter the charts just two weeks later on 6 June.

The tune's origins can be traced to a recording of a two-stroke moped engine, which was sent to an animator in Stockholm. He drew a cartoon character in the form of a frog to accompany the sound and named his creation the Annoying Thing.

Years later, Jamster bought its rights and turned it into a mobile phone tune.

It is now familiar to millions not only as a ringtone, but also as a series of television adverts featuring the frog as it speeds down the road on a bike.

The success of ringtones and track downloads has resulted in the industry producing weekly charts.

More than three million people in the UK change their tune each month. Britons spent £317m last year downloading ringtones, with almost four in 10 buying at least one ringtone, which cost up to £3 each.

Song downloads have also enjoyed phenomenal success thanks to websites such as iTunes and Napster.

Last year, 74 per cent of mobile phone users aged 13 to 15 had downloaded a ringtone. Research found that chocolate sales were falling in the UK for the first time in 50 years as pocket money was being spent on mobile phones.

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