How the iPod changed the way we consume music and content – Technology News, Firstpost



On October 23, 2001, Steve Jobs walked onto a stage holding a strange little box that would change the world and how it would change music and by extension content forever. It was the day the world was introduced to the iPod.

One of the highlights of Steve Jobs’ presentation of the original iPod was the ability to store over 1,000 songs.

Over the years, the iPod has become one of the most influential pieces of technology ever created. There have been many media players, and some of them were technically better than the iPod. However, no other media player has ruled the zeitgeist the way the iPod did.

That’s why, when Apple finally decided to finally stop making the iPod touch, and thereby wipe out the iPod lineup, Apple fans and those who have owned an iPod must have gotten a little nostalgic. . It really is the end of an era.

The iPod has been huge in changing the way people consume not just music, but content in general. We take a look at how Apple and the iPod have changed exactly the way we think about music and content in general.

Your entire music collection in your pocket

Before the iPod, people had the Sony Walkman as their personal music player. Make no mistake, it was an amazing piece of technology and influenced the revolution of music. However, the Walkman was practically made antique the day Apple introduced the iPod. The Walkman allowed you to take a few cassette tapes with you and was limited to the number of songs on those tapes. Even if you had 5-10 cassettes with you, the maximum number of songs you could carry with you would be about 250.

The iPod quadrupled that number. It was like Apple gave you the ability to take your entire music collection with you wherever you went. While Apple boasted that the first iPod could carry more than 1,000 songs, people were able to download as many as 1,500 songs to the device. The ones with the higher storage capacity can store 4 times as much. What this did was give people the power to choose.

The power of choice

With this newfound ability to pick one song out of a thousand possible, the way people thought about content and media consumption changed. Now, with the ability to carry your entire music library in the palm of your hands, you had instant access to everything you wanted to listen to. The immediacy with which you could jump from one song to another made people feel like they had limitless possibilities. Plus, with most cassettes, you usually had that one song that you really liked, but to buy that one song, you had to buy that whole cassette and scroll through the cassette to find that one song.

With the iPod, you had the ability to listen to only the music you wanted. Here you have a device that allows you to rewrite the rules of the cassette, choose only the songs you like and offer better sound quality than most Walkmans. This, in turn, had a trickle down effect on how music and content were produced, and the economies around it.

The economies of producing and selling music

The 1980s and 1990s were a time when music producers sold entire cassettes to make money. What this meant was that usually any “album” release would generally contain one great piece of music accompanied by some not so great works by the artist. With the introduction of the iPod and digital music, producers had to make sure every song on the album they produced had to be good. Gone were the days when they could just make cassettes with one or two decent songs and expect the public to pay for 10-15 mediocre songs too.

And with the proliferation of the Internet and the ability to download individual songs, music labels had to come up with a new way to make money. Then the concept of paid per download came into play, followed by paid per stream. And because the number of downloads and streams was digital and accessible to artists, record labels had to share their revenues fairly with the artists.

Operate your own media

People who have ever owned cassette players or even CD players know how difficult it is to maintain them. With cassettes it was even more difficult. Even on the best cassette players, the magnetic tapes would often get scratched or mangled straight up. Just because you bought a cassette, it didn’t mean you had the music on it forever. More often than not, you would have to buy the same cassette twice because the cassettes just wouldn’t last you long. And the more you played, the more the magnetic tape deteriorated. Digital libraries like the iPod have never had such problems.

Plus, cassettes will never allow you to switch tracks or skip tracks as efficiently as you can with an iPod. Plus, the ability to shuffle songs and shuffle any song from your collection was a game changer.

Stream content today

The effects of the changes in media consumption are visible to this day. The iPod may not have been the first mobile device that allowed users to stream content directly from the web, but the business model most streaming giants like Spotify or Netflix follow can be traced back to the iPod and how music production labels responded to the changing scenario it brought. From the economy to the interface of streaming media players, much of it can be attributed to the iPod.

In its two decades of being part of our cultural zeitgeist, the iPod must have been one of the most influential tech gadgets. It truly constituted the most pivotal cultural revolution of our generation.

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