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Uneasy Listening

What’s the problem with iTunes, iPods, and other convenient listening devices, asks The Los Angeles Times’ Steve Almond? Nothing, except for the devaluation of the music experience. He writes: “When I first encountered iTunes, the wildly popular music app that allows fans to compile their own collections and digital library, I was agog. After 20 years of amassing music, I had more than 4,000 albums, most of them stacked precariously in my basement. The more I used iTunes, the more slavish my devotion grew. If I wanted to play a particular song, I no longer had to go hunting through those stacks. I just clicked a button. If I wanted to make a mixed CD -- a process that had taken me hours, particularly in the cassette era -- I had only to create a new playlist. And if I heard a killer song at a party or on the radio, there was a handy online store where I could instantly download that track for a buck. Not only was my musical archive more organized, it was portable too. Thanks to the wonders of the ever-shrinking iPod, I could carry thousands of songs with me wherever I went, on a device barely larger than a postage stamp. (If you had presented me with this gadget even a decade ago, I'm pretty sure I would have proclaimed you the Messiah.) But for all the joys of such wizardry, I've been experiencing a creeping sense of dread recently when it comes to iTunes, a dark hunch that technology has impoverished the actual experience of listening to music.”
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