Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Why I Don't Own An Ipod
(or any other mp3 player)
You'd think I would own one. I'm a music freak (self-proclaimed). But I don't own an Ipod because Ipod hasn't directed any of their marketing at me. Not that I go out and purchase anything just because I've seen it on television. And it isn't so much that Ipod has their sights on the younger hipper customer. It's just that I've never seen an mp3 player advertised expressly for the classical music loving listener (and by classical music I mean anything from early Gregorian Chant through Berlioz and Britten and on way past Steve Reich, with a smattering of film and Broadway thrown in.)

Oh sure, I've thought about buying one, but those thoughts haven't turned into desire.

I've even investigated classical music mp3 sites. But these sites haven't taken my knowledge and needs into their operation. Just today, in preparation for this post, I checked out one site, just to see if what I'm saying is still true. And I could find tons of composers. But orchestras and conductors and recording dates aren't right there with titles. In one case I did manage to find the ensemble performing - it was a download for Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb - but I was taken aback when that ensemble was listed as some high school chorus! I'm not going to pay for that!

Other sites advertise "hundreds of songs," but songs are the unit of measure for current, so called "popular" music. In the "classical" world, songs refer usually to "art songs" or even "arias." In the classical world, a composition can be less than a minute long (Webern) or over an hour (Mahler). Ipod's not speaking my language, and the classical mp3 sites aren't either. I supposed this is because there's a very small market out there for this type of music, and the people who listen to it are too old, in the mp3 worldview.

1 comment:

Ben said...


I agree... classical music and mp3's have some issues to work out. Something particularly disturbing about iPods is how they insist on organizing music by "artist", which ends up not being very useful for classical recordings. I've been very happy with my iAudio player from Cowon as it lets you set up your own directory structure for your music, and it has an FM radio for NPR.

And it's not a bloody iPod!