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07/07/2005: "How the iPod Has Liberated My Musical Taste"

Music: iTunes

In addition to all the packing and painting I am doing before we move, I have been taking control of my music collection. A few months ago, I got an iPod from work as a prize for selling lots of food to my customers. At the time, the music on my computer was a mess, as I hadn't really considered it the main way I listened to music. With the discovery that you can plug the iPod into the tape adaptor in the car, this little miracle device began to take on a great deal of importance in my life.

Previously, I had plugged the tape adaptor into a CD player, which at first was a great leap forward because I no longer had to listen to my small supply of tapes or the radio. While most of my music was on CD at this point, I still had to listen to one at a time, and change it if I wanted to listen to something else. Now with this discovery, I can listen to anything while taking the bus, walking, or driving.

In addition to discovering this secret of the iPod, my computer has become my default entertainment center as I have no other home entertainment gadgets to speak of. But why do I need several different gadgets? TV doesn't care what I want to watch when I am sitting in front of it. Why do I need TV when I can watch whatever Doctor Who episode whenever I want on my computer?

In the same way I no longer need TV, I have liberated myself from the confines of the music industry's delivery devices. I have gone through my CD collection and put my favorite songs from each CD on the iPod. Now when I want to listen to, say, "Livin' In The Fast Lane" by Urban Dance Squad, I can just listen to it. I can even throw out the CD I burned it off of that I paid full price for when it came out because all the other songs (well, OK, I burned "Deeper Shade Of Soul" too) suck. I paid $15 for two songs I liked. I could sell it to a used CD place, but for a clunker like this, I might get $1-2, a loss of $13.

How many CDs have I bought over the years? Hundreds. Of these hundred, how many are worth what I paid for them, ie every track is good? Less than twenty, and I am being generous. While putting my CD collection on the iPod, nearly every CD had only 1- 5 good songs on it, and a precious few got fully burned. It is so infuriating that for so many years, in order to listen to music I wanted to listen to, I had to pay for filler material that I did not need nor want, and in many cases was such a detriment to my listening experience that I would stop listening to the CD (tape, record, etc) altogether and buy another one, in some desperate hope that the next one would be a more fufilling listening experience.

So now the record companies are suing people who are trying to obtain their music in way that deny them "their cut" of the profits. Well, where is my rebate for all the CDs I bought that I hated but were stuck with because, much like a car, a CD loses most of its value once it leaves the record store? I will keep the CDs as backup files, but I no longer feel like supporting an industry that is concentrating on punishing their customers instead of trying to discover and support (and exploit) new artists. I have all this music I paid for, and now I can listen to it on my terms. Thanks, iPod!

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