I realize that, in the tradition of bloggers the world over, I routinely use my piece of the blogosphere to gripe and moan. With Thanksgiving just a day-after-tomorrow away, I’d like to take a break from the carping and offer my sincere thanks for some of the wonders brought about by the advent of digital music and media.
This little music player has forever altered the way we consume media. Thanks to the iPod we listen to music by playlist rather than album. Thanks to the iPod (and Apple’s desire to feed it) a la carte music-on-demand is rapidly becoming the norm rather than the exception. Thanks to the iPod, video-on-demand is finally moving forward.
Thanks to the iPod,
I’m making a living.
iPod Accessory Makers
The iPod is a very cool piece of gear that’s made umpteen times cooler by accessory manufacturers who’ve expanded its capabilities. There are far too many of these companies to list here. Check out our
Product Guide for the lowdown on the best gear for your ‘pod.
The iTunes Music Store
I grew up haunting record stores—
Rasputin Records, Big Al’s Record Barn,
PooBah (Pasadena’s used record-store jewel)—plying the cut-out and import bins for their vinyl treasures. As the responsibilities of hearth and home became more pressing, I spent less time keeping track of the latest musical movements, eventually reaching the point where I knew fewer than half the artists who appeared in the Billboard Top 100. Eventually, I stopped exploring new music altogether, restricting my purchases to new releases by familiar artists.
The iTunes Music Store changed that.
Sure, like a lot of people, my first iTunes purchases were familiar—albums I had on vinyl that I was too lazy to rip. But it didn’t take long before I started previewing music from artists I’d never heard of—putting the Staff Favorites and Listeners Also Bought links to good use. Were it not for the iTunes Music Store I would have completely missed music from
1 Giant Leap,
Lowen & Navarro,
Trespassers William, and
Uncle Tupelo (yes, I’m into melody and harmony these days).
Thanks to the iTunes Music Store, I’m back to exploring new music. Best of all, while doing it, I needn’t suffer the sneer of some teenage clerk who judges my pile of purchases to be completely lame.
All you podcasters
Whether you’re a lone individual in a basement with a cheap mic and a laptop or a Big Time Media Conglomerate sharing your content through iTunes’ Podcast page, you’ve given a lot of us something other than the morning shock-jock or happy-news team to listen to on the way to work. We appreciate it.
Yahoo! Music Unlimited
Yeah, yeah, I know, we all want to own our music and subscription services have gained little traction against iTunes. I don’t care. I signed on for Yahoo! Music Unlimited’s $60 all-you-can-eat-in-a-year music plan and I haven’t regretted it for a moment.
Before I purchase new music from iTunes, I see if it’s available on Yahoo so I can hear the entire track or album before making a commitment. This technique has saved me hundreds of dollars in what might have been poor purchases.
And as I still have a lot of music on vinyl, I like the convenience of pulling up a favorite album in Yahoo rather than searching for the record and having to flip it over halfway through.
And, of course, the real beauty of a well-stocked subscription service is that you can explore more music than you could consume in a lifetime.
And finally, while Sony-BMG may find this a backhanded compliment, I’d like to thank those responsible for its DRM strategy (if, indeed, such a thing exists) for making such a spectacular mess of things. Instead of imposing a DRM scheme that’s simply inconvenient or easily cracked, they took a page from Hacking For Fun and Profit and installed software on Windows PCs that
left those computers vulnerable to malicious code. That move has gone beyond simple embarrassment to something potentially criminal—
the Attorney General of Texas is suing Sony for violating the Texas Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware act.
My greatest wish is that this fiasco causes all music companies to take a hard second, third, and fourth look at how far they’re willing to go to protect their property.
Have something iPod/music-related that you appreciate? I’ll thank you to use the Comments link to post your thoughts to our forums.