Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tiny iPod. So what.

The media is making a big deal out of a small item: the new Apple iPod Shuffle.

"It's hard not to be seduced by a player so tantalizingly tiny," writes Edward Baig in a USA Today review.

Am I missing something here? Sure, it's a small music player, but is it really "hard not to be seduced" by it? If I had one of those, I'd probably lose it within a week.

Still, it is pretty amazing technologically speaking that this little device can hold 1,000 songs. That was the claim made for the original chunky-style iPod released in 2001 ("1,000 songs in your pocket").

Is it helpful to carry around so much music? What is gained and what is lost with the advent of portable recorded music?


david said...

One thing that is lost is the communal function of music.

Live concerts (amplified and acoustic) promote community since there are people gathered with a common purpose (to listen and enjoy music). Need I even mention Woodstock and the cultural revolution? What kind of cultural revolution is the iPod going to create?

Playlist driven individual with personalized, pocket-sized - or maybe pea-sized - iPods. You can go anywhere and still block out the people around you. No need to engage in conversation on the train when you have your iPod playing all your music.

I'm being a bit general and presumptuous on purpose, but I think the point is clear nonetheless.

david said...


I never told you about relocating to Denver last month. My company moved me from Boise to work on a project here (tax software). I'm living over on Hampden Ave. Anyways, maybe we can do lunch sometime!

Robert Velarde said...

David, thanks for the comments. Yes, I think an iPod mentality tends to isolate us even in public. Phonographs, radio, and other technologies have also contributed to the decline in the appreciation of music as a live art.

Nice to hear you are in the Denver area. I know Hampden well as Denver Seminary used to be out that way. I'm not in the Denver area too regularly but we'll see if we might meet up sometime.