The iPod: a solipsistic defense against the world’s sucky music

From Slate:

If recording and mechanical reproduction opened up the world of musical pluralism—of listening to other people’s music until you and they became other people yourselves—digital reproduction expanded that pluralism to the point where it reversed itself. You have all the world’s music on your iPod, in your earphones. Now it’s “other people’s music”—which should be very exciting to encounter—as played in cafes and stores that is the problem. In any public setting, it acquires a coercive aspect. The iPod is the thing you have to buy in order not to be defenseless against the increasingly sucky music played to make you buy things.

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