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Blog #2: What And How I Listen

September 5, 2012

When it comes to the topic of music devices and their affect on how people communicate, the impact is very widespread. Personally, I listen to music on several different devices at the current time. I have a Microsoft Zune that I use from time to time, mostly because it has a larger library (about 30 gigs) of music that I only have on that device. When I want to hear a certain song in my collection, I know for sure that it is on my Zune. I do like the Zune for its rugged durability. I have dropped the device several times without it breaking. I do however wish I had gotten an iPod instead of the Zune. The Zune has come to be seen as sort of a joke in the world of media players when comparing it to the success of the iPod. I have to say that the Apple iTunes software does run much cleaner and is easier to add songs to the device. As we have learned in class, the social learning theory has taught us that it is cooler to have an iPod and not a Zune. People learn from others who have the product how cool it is. The iPod with its sleek design and revolutionary scroll made it a fashion accessory (iPod users always displaying their white headphone and cord) that was also functional.

Recently, I have joined the Apple iPod community by purchasing an iPhone 4s to cover all my media bases. However, I do not have one song on the iTunes application on my phone. The reason for this being I did not want to waste any of the 16gigs on music that I have already on other devices and can listen to any time. Like many other people, I do still use my smart phone for most of my music needs. Often, I get on YouTube to listen to a song and then add it to my playlist that is accessible through on app on my phone. I also use apps like Pandora on my phone when I feel like exploring a new genre or just doing something else while listening to music (like typing this blog post for example). One app for the iPhone that I have really come to enjoy for nearly all my music needs is one called Songza. It’s a free app that lets the user pick a playlist of several songs (usually 40-100 songs) that fits how what mood the user is in. For example, I often choose the “Working Out” playlist when I go to the gym.

When it comes to how I actually “listen” to music, I have several options available. I most often use the classic white ear buds that came with my iPhone 4s when I am in the gym and walking to class. I like the headphone is particular because they have a volume control and microphone on the cord in case I need to change the volume or take a phone call. When I really want to jam out however, I use the 500 watt stereo in my room. I like to use the stereo system when I want hear the fullness of the sound. In my opinion, music sounds different when it has the chance to fill a room rather than directly through headphones.

The reasons why I listen to music differ dramatically from day to day. Sometimes, I like to walk to campus listening to music because I feel like it gives me a soundtrack to my life. Other times, I like to go to the gym and listen to hard core gangster rap to get my motivated to work harder or run further. Other days, I listen to music to relax and come down from a long day with a song that I know. It should be noted that for all the above mentioned activities, each example I am listening to a different genre of music. I find it hard to pick one that is my favorite. I listen to music to make me feel a certain way or put myself in a certain mood (or to go along with the mood I am already experiencing). This all ties into the appeal of MP3 music players that we discussed in class recently. MP3 players and personal digital audio players give the listener an experience of space, place of others and themselves. I think that part of the appeal of portable personal audio devices stems from the privacy that comes with it. Using myself as an example, there are some songs that I would not be comfortable playing over loud speakers but love to listen to while I am by myself. By putting in those tiny little ear phones, I enter a space that I have control over. I pick what I want to listen to and go about my business instead of having to listen to the ambient sounds of the uncontrollable world around me. 

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