“iPods and their ilk are changing the way music is being experienced, or reexperienced, by all sorts of audiophiles in all sorts of settings, from health clubs and school cafeterias to malls and subway cars,” Joseph P. Kahn writes for The Boston Globe. “In essence, these devices function much like customized jukeboxs or personalized radio stations, but don’t require a pocketful of coins to feed them or noisy advertisements to support them. ‘All my music, all the time — and all in my pocket’ might be their operating mantra.”
Kahn writes, “When thousands of titles are transferred onto the machine’s hard drive and in rotation, users say, what happens on the listening end can be aesthetically stimulating, even liberating. This is not necessarily because the tracks are unfamiliar, but because the software’s shuffle-play capability juxtaposes them in intriguing ways, not only across an entire 5,000-track collection but within, say, a compilation of blues tunes or Broadway melodies, or even shuffling through only the tracks played in the past 90 days.”
“In many cases, such specialized playlists can be automatically expanded by iTunes, the companion software that is another vital component of iPod chic. Want to create a continually updated playlist of every song on your iPod that was released during your college years? The machine can be programmed to do that, too,” Kahn writes. “Users can now stow away their albums and CDs as backup files while hauling their collections wherever they go. These tiny music boxes and their distinctive, earbud-style headphones have become life-transforming accessories.”
Full article here.