REM frontman Michael Stipe Wants Ringtones for EVs
Michael Stipe demands ringtones for electric cars
By Lester Haines
28th September 2004
REM frontman Michael Stipe has taken a refreshing break from the
time-honoured rock star pastime of pontificating on world hunger and
political injustice to address a far more pressing matter - how to avoid
getting run over by electric cars.
Stipe's solution to this perambulatory nightmare is as brilliant as it is
simple: said vehicles must play ringtones to warn pedestrians of their
approach. Stipes enthuses to Time Out: "It will blow the music business wide
open! Everyone will love it. In the country they'll be able to play whatever
they want; in Vegas it will have to be classical. Or reggae. Or bluegrass.
Could you imagine?"
Yes we can, Michael. The idea came to Stipe when he nearly got totalled by a
battery-powered vehicle in Los Angeles. He then experienced a blinding
moment of clarity in which "I suddenly thought to myself: 'This is going to
be a big, big problem. People will be run over by electric cars all the
time. They make no noise. No sound. They're silent!"
Stipe quickly rejected the idea that electric jalopies should mimic the
sound of a petrol-driven engine on the grounds that it would be "stupid".
"And then it struck me - ringtones," he says. "People will program their
car, as part of the insurance policy that states: 'Don't run people over
with your silent car', with ringtones."
Stipe's opinion on the effect of DRM on insurance prices is not noted.
Neither has he considered a cheaper and simpler alternative which uses
existing technology - simply giving it some on the horn, cranking up the car
radio to full blast, leaning out of the window and shouting: "Get out of my
effing way you bald-headed prat!"