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The transformation of my musical life happened slowly. I used to bring an envelope of CDs to work and play them through my computer's CD-ROM drive. The first time I saw a CD burner, I was blown away -- and immediately set out to consolidate all of my favorite Peter Gabriel B-Sides into one massive mix CD.

Then one day I read a story about fitting the entire Beatles catalog on two CDs. It didn't make sense to me until I discovered that the CDs were full of compressed audio files called MP3s.

It was pretty much a blur after that. At some point, I stopped bringing CDs to work (except to rip their contents to MP3) and had begun to fill up my disk with selections from my music collection. The iPod and iTunes arrived, and my entire CD collection departed to a storage area after a quick stop to be transmogrified into MP3 files. And then the iTunes Music Store turned me into a serious music purchaser for the first time since college.

If this story isn't familiar to you -- if you're one of the Macworld readers who have griped about the volume of iPod coverage in Macworld -- avert your eyes from next month's cover. It's hard for us to avoid the hottest product Apple has released in years, but we sympathize when one of those readers says, "If you love the iPod so much, why don't you give it its own magazine?"

And so we did.

Playlist is a special issue (very much like our previous "Total OS X," "Digital Hub," and "Total Panther" issues) that's devoted entirely to digital music, with a focus on the iPod and iTunes. Playlist features cool iPod accessories, lots of iTunes tips, and plenty of stuff about music itself. It's available on newsstands only, beginning August 24.

Computer technology has transformed the way we devour music -- and for the better. Now we can hold 4,000 songs in our pocket, letting us shuffle through the works of Beethoven while riding the bus or listen to our favorite '80s rock album the very moment we become nostalgic for it.

That's why we created Playlist . We agree with Apple that the intersection of music and technology is the most exciting place in the world right now. New technologies are bringing us more freedom to enjoy our favorite music (and, lest I forget, audiobooks), as well as opportunities to explore new music that we might never have tried out if we had to buy a CD down at the local record store. The digital music revolution even threatens to change how we listen to live music, as touring bands begin to sell downloads (or even CDs) of their concerts right as they happen.

Inside Playlist you'll find a collection of stories from this collision of music and tech. There are stories by technology experts who have been following digital music from the outset. From these, you'll discover countless things you never knew you could do with your iPod or iTunes, as well as countless accessories, the best headphones and external speakers, and much more.

But Playlist also takes care of the music side of the equation, not only with a collection of music reviews, but with interviews of people on the cutting edge of digital music, from artists to DJs. And we're taking advantage of the unique power of the digital music world to have artists, fans, journalists, and other music aficionados create cool musical mixes that you can try yourself.

Yes, the world of digital music has come a long way from those first tentative steps into the world of MP3s. But I have the sneaking suspicion that we haven't even finished the opening act of the digital music revolution.

To get your copy, visit your local newsstand, call 800/288-6848, or visit

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