“Please welcome to the stage…Buzz Aldrin!” Roar…wait…what? Cool!
Best known for his 1982 hit “She Blinded Me with Science”, and 1984 single “Hyperactive!” Thomas Dolby successfully established the Headspace company. Headspace developed a new downloadable file format designed specifically for Internet usage called Rich Music Format with the RMF file extension. It had the advantage of small file size like MIDI but allowed recorded sampled sounds to be included at a higher bitrate for better overall reproduction. RMF music files could be played in a browser using the free Beatnik Player plug-in. Later versions of RMF permitted artists to place an encrypted watermark in their files that were supposed to prevent unauthorized duplication. In 1999, Headspace, Inc. was renamed Beatnik, Inc., and now specializes in software synthesizers for mobile phones, which it has licensed to mobile phone manufacturers including Nokia.
While still remaining on the company board, Dolby stepped down from his position as CEO of Beatnik Inc. to pursue other technologically innovative interests, such as founding Retro Ringtones LLC in 2002, which produces the RetroFolio ringtone asset management software suite for companies involved in the mobile phone ringtone business.
Dolby’s musical talents have also been put to use creating hundreds of digital polyphonic ringtones now found on mobile phones everywhere (including the polyphonic version of the infamous Nokia signature theme). He is often a major speaker at technology conferences such as Comdex, Websphere, and Nokia, and also acts as Musical Director of The TED Conference.