Happy 5th birthday to the iPod.
I was kind of slow to get on the bandwagon, mostly because it was (and still is, although not as much) so damned expensive to join the iPod club.
But like a lot of people, once I got the thing, I was hooked. It's a cliche to say it but I'll say it anyway: it changed the way I listen to music, both because it allows me to shuffle through thousands of songs of all genres throughout an entire century of recorded music, and because I can carry all that tunage wherever I go and have private access to the sound library, and not have to listen to the traffic/street noise/supermarket Muzak/lawn mower/sounds of nature.
CNN this week ran this Associated Press story, about how musicians who've been holdouts from the iPod/iTunes bandwagon -- the Beatles, Led Zep, Garth Brooks and others among them -- will probably cave in and finally allow their music to be downloaded song-by-song.
Apple's iPod dominates the digital music player market, and iTunes accounts for over 70 percent of the (legal) digital music market. Meanwhile, CD sales have been dropping steadily. The era of the compact disc is over, it seems.
Here's the best description I've read yet about the "Jack FM" format -- a hodgepodge of album oriented and hit songs from the past two, maybe three decades played up in no particular order. The stations that feature the format (Denver's Jack 105.5 FM was the first station in the U.S. to adopt the format, which was birthed in Canada) typically use taglines that state something like, "Music we like," or "Playing what we want."
I love how smart Apple is with its line of iPods, and more important, the content it makes available for iPods. I got a video iPod for Christmas (good thing, since my 40GB 4th generation iPod is filled up with over 11,000 songs), and in addition to putting all my classical music and odds and ends like podcasts on the thing, Iâ€™ve been putting videos on it.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I wrote a rhapsodic review of Madonna.
I thought back then that she was a perfect encapsulation of American consumerism, and though that's kind of an icky concept, I thought she was special because her music was so good. She captures (or at least back then, captured) the American "zeitgeist" (sorry to use such a geek crit-term, but it's a good one) with pure pop for all people. Anyone who didn't like her music were just plain high-culture snobs or didn't have an ounce of humor and/or rhythm in their bones.
I've been a fan of Apple's TV commercials for the iPod since long before I got my own iPod.
The instantly recognizable campaign, with the silhouetted figures dancing with their iPods in hand and the "iconic" white earbuds and wire flopping around are just plain cool. A couple of weeks ago, Apple launched its latest TV commercial, which features "pop-lock" dancers doing their robotic, hip-hoppy thing to their 'Pods.
Then, I realized that I never see people in real life listening to iPod and moving along to the music like the silhouettes in these commercials.
When Barbie was â€œborn" into the Mattel family of toys in 1959, she wasnâ€™t just a doll. She was the epicenter of a retail revolution.
When parents bought their baby-boomer girls a Barbie, they were agreeing to an unspoken but implicit contract with the toy store to return time and again and buy stuff â€“ lots more stuff â€“ for Barbie.
Thatâ€™s how Mattel envisioned her. A kid wouldnâ€™t be happy with just the Barbie and some clothes like any earlier doll would offer. Nope, Mattel created an entire fantasy world, with price tags attached to every damned thing in that world, from friends like Midge and sister Skipper, and of course, the sexless boyfriend Ken (whose irony-drenched advertising slogan was â€œKenâ€¦. Heâ€™s a Doll!") to Barbie houses, Barbie Sports cars, carrying cases, closets, apartments with Barbie-sized furniture, picnic sets and even a tiny Barbie Doll for Barbie to own!
Every day's bus ride from the Westminster Park and Ride is like listening to the weirdest radio station imaginable -- a lot weirder than even the heyday of "underground" radio of the late '60s and early '70s.
And every ride, I hear gems out of the 10,064 tracks on my 40GB 4G iPod that make me smile, or take me back, or get me to notice something new and cool that I didn't know or notice before. That's the beauty of shuffling through the music.
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