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Wednesday, February 09, 2005
iTunes: the Triumph of Yet Another Inferior Technology
Just came across this factoid on (How the hell did I end up there?)

Meanwhile, the micropayment-based service iTunes has seized 90% of the online music market, leaving Yahoo's subscription-based service in the dust.

I know all of you out there fetishizing your little iPods will wonder what the hell I'm talking about. Isn't the iPod the coolest thing that has ever gone into a pocket?

But the thing with the iPod and iTunes is that -- well, first, it's more expensive. But more importantly, you're trapped in a small musical box. It will shuffle. But it won't break the envelope of your own myopic little playlist.

Sure, Launchcast tries to sneak in the latest TRL pabulum every once in a while. But it has a skip button. In exchange for these occasional peccadillos, it takes better advantage of collaborative filtering. That is, it gets smarter, more attuned to your tastes, but keeps a window open on the larger world.

Launchcast is order on the edge of chaos, where complex systems are their most dynamic. Sure, iPod is portable. But who really needs to listen to that much music in their life? Who the hell do you think you are anyway, Manu Chau? And ultimately it simply reinforces the lamest status quo of all -- your own oversold solipsistic musical worldview.