Carrying around my iPhone, I listen more to an iPod than before and I’ve upgraded the music collection on my iPod.
I suspect that iPods encourage musical nuggets which are short, to the point, and complementary to adrenalin. I’ve heard the ? and the Mysterians song "99 Teardrops" more often in the last week than in the preceding last year.
The iPod means we listen more on the go, and with background noise, so the music should have energy. iPod listening also brings more frequent interruptions, which discriminates against longer pieces. Unlike with a CD player there is no particular reason to listen to a whole album straight through and what’s an album anymore anyway?
The curmudgeonly side of me worries a little. What about slowly enfolding, architectonically subtle musical structures? I love LaMonte Young, Pandit Kumar, and Andrew Violette, but thery’re not on my iPod. I also resent that now my brain is more likely to expect music to be fun, though often I would rather hear music that is good for me.
I’ve read that classical music is more popular on iTunes than in music stores; I wonder if the preference is for arias and energetic movements of snappy symphonies, or if the iTunes purchase doesn’t end up very active on the iPod.
A loyal MR reader asked for mbaqanga recommendations for iPod; start with The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, Mahlathini (best without the Mahotella Queens), and Township Jazz n’ Jive; the last is not exactly mbqanga but you will love it anyway.