The death of the iPod Classic is problematic

The death of the iPod Classic is more problematic than you think

This past Tuesday, in addition to an unwanted U2 album, Apple unveiled the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, along with a full update of their site merchandise. But as Engadget reports, the iPod Classic was curiously missing from Apple’s catalog, a move signifying the death of the product.

I still use an iPod classic. In addition to my keys, wallet, and smartphone, I carry it around with me at all times. I also buy music — typically in a physical format. I have thousands of CDs and hundreds of records which decorate my bedroom in my apartment. When I’m home, I will listen to them so I can relax and pour over the liner notes and artwork, but in any other scenario or setting, my iPod is my primary source of music. I’ve often been asked as to why I don’t combine my music listening device with my phone like the rest of the world has been doing now for years.

There are many reasons:

Firstly, despite obviously being a fan of antiquated methods of listening to music such as vinyl, CDs, and now my iPod, I am still very much a person of the 21st century. I text, I read articles, I GPS, I even make the occasional phone call – all with my phone. I am also a person who listens to a lot of music. It should be noted that listening to music is often not a first person singular experience. When I have guests over, music is playing. When I’m in my car, music is playing. There are times where I’m at other places such as friends’ or my family’s houses where I’m asked to put on music given my extensive digital collection. Assuming my iPod breaks or is lost at some point, where I then have to rely on my phone for music, I will now have to remove myself from the digital world – periodically checking in on the now-tethered object that is hooked into the speaker system. I now will have to choose between my social/professional life and the joy of listening to music.

Second – now that I’ve already succumbed to having my phone be my music device, I will now have to choose what music to have on call. The new iPhone 6 Plus has a capacity of up to 128GB at a price of $499. Considering this is 32 gigs less than what my current iPod stores, and the fact that I have to share that room with every other thing I keep on my phone, this is most certainly a downgrade. This is not even counting for all the aforementioned inconveniences.

Third, and MOST IMPORTANT – this move will hurt artists in the long run. The elephant in the room of this conversation is of course Spotify – still the leading streaming music service. Sure — I don’t even need to own music anymore because Spotify exists. But the concept of essentially renting music as opposed to owning is incredibly problematic. There have already been mountains of digital ink spilled on how Spotify is screwing artists out of money by providing an all too easy system for listeners to just listen to then move on. The discontinuation of a device that at least promotes the practice of physically owning the music (whether it was paid for or downloaded illegally) is another hit against the artists. Even more listeners will now be discouraged from pursuing artists’ discographies because they now have less room on their portable devices to store them. Anyone on the fence on this argument will surely lean now towards Spotify and other streaming sources, which is more bad news for artists. Not to mention that relying solely on internet service to get your music just flat-out sucks, as there are numerous occasions where a signal can’t be reached (I know plenty of people that love music but simply don’t listen to anything on their subway commutes because they have to rely on Spotify).

As someone who hold his iPod Classic dear, in a way I’m glad to see it become an artifact to perhaps show those reliant on streaming services the inevitable error of their ways. I imagine though, I’ll be a lot less excite though when the Apple parts inevitable stop working and I have to seek out a replacement on the eBay.

Douglas Bleggi

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