Monday, October 22, 2007

Evolution of an Ipod User

The story of my evolution as an ipod user:

Phase One: Unevolved. A.k.a. still using the discman/cd wallet method. This was actually where I was until about a year ago. While in Michigan, I never really thought much about getting an ipod; most of the walking I did was from my car to work/class/the coffee shop. I didn't prowl the streets the way that I do today (yeah, that's right, I prowl.) So, even though the discman/cd wallet method was a mild space-occupying nuisance, I didn't really see any impetuous to spend a few hundred bucks on a piece of electronics I would probably just break. Which, make no mistake, I would have done. Or I would have lost it. Or I would have spilled coffee on it. Or I would have drunkenly loaned it to someone and never got it back.

Phase Two: New York, Year One. When I moved to New York two years ago, I didn't realize that everyone was somehow already in possession of an mp3 player. 45 year old Wall Street types sat on the subway next to 18 year old Williamsburg hipsters and they could both be found using the same ipod and headphones. It was actually kind of cool and appealingly capitalist, in a "the ipod is so clearly the best mp3 player that we all can agree to use it" sort of way. Of course, thus began the phase where it became vaguely shameful to have the cd/wallet combo. Unlike me, they could put their music in their pockets! They didn't have to buy new batteries every week! (New York batteries, by the way, are the absolute worst batteries in the world. A fresh pair will last no longer than two subway rides. It was/is infuriating). It was really only a matter of time (and money) before I got an ipod, too, once I got here.

Phase Three: The Ipod Purchase: Last fall, after a little prodding, I finally went and bought a 30 gig, video ipod. It immediate became, to an almost embarrassing degree, the greatest thing I owned. After the initial thrill of getting all my cds onto my ipod and realizing just how great it was to have all of my music available at once ( a truly thrilling experience, as all ipod users can attest), I began to wonder what I could get, for free, from the Internet. As I was working at the time at a job that afforded me serious downtime, this proved to be the perfect diversionary activity. And man oh man, is there a lot of stuff out there...

Phase Four: Taking It Up a Notch. After a couple months scouring the Internet, acquiring some favorite music blogs (Gorilla Vs. Bear, Moistworks, and Said the Gramophone in particular), and using the itunes store, I couldn't leave well enough alone. I had to find the holy grail. Maybe I found it, maybe I didn't (for legal reasons, let's keep the answer open-ended), but even if I did, the quest never really ends anyway. There's always more music, more bands, more bootlegs, more unreleased tracks, more out of print albums, more...

Phase Five: Cooling the Fire. Because finding new music is a quest that has no end, I finally got tired of the whole process and took myself out of the race. I stopped going to about 90% of the music sites I went to, I stopped trolling the mp3 blogs, and I cut back on the number of elaborate "theme" playlists that I like to make (somewhat). This had multiple advantages: It freed me up to actually listen to all the music I'd acquired while also giving me more time to spend on these objects I used to love called "books." In addition, I've fallen in love with podcasts, and they provide a daily dose of enjoyment while letting me pretend that I'm getting smarter. I still listen to a crazy amount of music, but it has settled back into a more normal, less manic place in my life.

2 comments:

Megan said...

i love my ipod, too. It's totally my baby. I don't even really like handing it to other people. it's sick. i am sick.

Anonymous said...

Phase Six: The Hot 100 Mix. We are all waiting for it with eager ears.