If Eclectic is Normal

I heard Randi Rhodes say to some caller the other day that basically everyone thinks they are the most eclectic music listener in the world. As proof they offer to display what’s in their iPod. Everyone is the John Cusak character from High Fidelity. It’s not just that everyone listens to all kinds of music (as they always have), it’s that many of us now have it all collected in one place, one device, ingeniously categorized.

This causes issues for the music snob, pointed out by Michael Crowley (who has been guest blogging at Talking Points Memo) in The New Republic:

… there’s a dark side to the iPod era. Snobbery subsists on exclusivity. And the ownership of a huge and eclectic music collection has become ordinary. Thanks to the iPod, and digital music generally, anyone can milk various friends, acquaintances, and the Internet to quickly build a glorious 10,000-song collection. Adding insult to injury, this process often comes directly at the Rock Snob’s expense. We are suddenly plagued by musical parasites. For instance, a friend of middling taste recently leeched 700 songs from my computer. He offered his own library in return, but it wasn’t much. Never mind my vague sense that he should pay me some money. In Rock Snob terms, I was a Boston Brahmin and he was a Beverly Hillbilly–one who certainly hadn’t earned that highly obscure album of AC/DC songs performed as tender acoustic ballads but was sure to go bragging to all his friends about it. Even worse was the girlfriend to whom I gave an iPod. She promptly plugged it into my computer and was soon holding in her hand a duplicate version of my 5,000-song library–a library that had taken some 20 years, thousands of dollars, and about as many hours to accumulate. She’d downloaded it all within five minutes. And, a few months later, she was gone, taking my intimate musical DNA with her.

Modern problems …

Link: The New Republic