City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

The meaning of iPod

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Latest issue of The Economist contains their Technology Quarterly supplement, and if you can stomach the cover, it’s full of good stuff. For starters, this article on the iPod, based on talking to Michael Bull of Sussex University, who studies the cultural impact of personal music players such as the iPod. Some findings:

"By granting them control over their environment—the audible environment, at least—the iPod allows its users to escape into their own little private bubbles. When standing in line at the airport, or waiting for a late train, iPod users feel that not everything, at least, is out of their control. They are also, says Dr Bull, far more selective about answering their mobile phones. That suggests that adding phone functionality to the iPod would be a bad idea, since it would facilitate intrusion … This does not mean the iPod is inherently anti-social, however. For its second effect is to make music consumption, a traditionally social activity, even more so. You can use your iPod as a jukebox at home, and the ability to carry your music collection with you means you can always play new tracks to your friends. Many iPod users compile special selections of tunes, or playlists, for family listening while in the car … That leads to the third of the iPod’s effects on music consumption. The ability to mix and match tracks in playlists unconstrained by the limitations of vinyl records or CDs could undermine the notion of the album as a coherent collection of music. Musicians can still make albums if they want to, of course. But with music sold online on a track-by-track basis, albums could suddenly look very old-fashioned, and singles might make a comeback."

The Economist: The meaning of iPod [subscription reqd. at time of posting]


One response to “The meaning of iPod”

  1. Ajay Krishna Avatar
    Ajay Krishna

    this is cool


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