Portable Music

As mp3 players became popular, more people started casually listening to music. Certainly, music was popular before this, but the ease and portable nature of the mp3 player increased the overall amount of music being consumed and subsequently altered our listening habits. Portable walk-mans and cd players became archaic quickly as we could now store a variety of albums in a sleek, pocket-sized device - doubtfully more appealing than carrying a bag full of cd’s around, incase you wanted to hear something other than the album you left home with. Not to mention the stylability of these devices, due to the over-fetishized qualities they contain. Some people aren’t even listening; they’re functioning entirely as fashion accessories or status symbols. They’re often used as deterrents as well, suggesting that if someone is plugged in they’re occupying one of their senses and therefore excluding themselves from the reality they’re otherwise totally a part of. All of a sudden we have access to a new morning soundtrack to rouse us out of the mundane routine, something to wear on the bus to avoid conversation, something to listen to while studying because the second hand on the wall clock is infuriatingly precise and so on. This new technology has conditioned us to listen passively. It's gotten people using their music device for other purposes, rather than for listening. 

Michael Schmidt, professor of philosophy of music & media, has some interesting thoughts on the changes occurring in music and how we interact with them... 


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