Demographically speaking, I should probably own an iPod, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Besides, my morning commute is loud enough as it is. I really can’t imagine how inserting ear buds pumping M People or Final Fantasy into my head will make things more enjoyable. (Bear with me here, but I’m going to be beating the Final Fantasy drum until He Poos Coulds gets released in June. See what you started, Molly?) Still, I’m contemplating buying an iPod. They’re just so irresistible. Don’t get me wrong—you’re not going to see me at any iPod DJ happy hours or anything. For me, owning an iPod wouldn’t carry any social significance. I just see it as an ultra-convenient listening tool. Admittedly, as I type this, I’m half-cringing at the thought that I’m actually even writing about iPods. Ugh, even thinking that is a total cliché.
Anyway, the ability to download a single song from iTunes, rather than an entire album, is really attractive. Think about it. You get this weird craving for “One Night In Heaven” or “Moving On Up” but instead of hauling yourself all the way down to that tired, perpetually stuck in the early ’90s gay bar on 8th Ave., just a few clicks and 99 cents later, you’ve got your fix. I trolled around iTunes this morning to checkout the goods. I can’t really complain about the selection—it’s beyond vast. Many have complained about the difficulty of finding classical music, but I didn’t have any trouble tracking down, say, Ligeti’s Lux aeterna. Alas, Morton Feldman’s Piano and String Quartet is a lot pricier than the usual one-song download: $11.99. Yikes. The big gripe is that only performers are tagged in the system. So, without a category designated for composers, it doesn’t look like we’ll be doing any vanity searches on iTunes anytime soon.
I was a little surprised by what was missing on iTunes. A search on John Cage yielded poor results. I tried searching Margaret Leng Tan and Stephen Drury and discovered releases from New Albion, Tzadik, etc. Everything released by Mode Records was awol. I can’t imagine why a record label wouldn’t make their products available on iTunes. The Internet is full of people looking for strange things, building foxholes, and creating counter-marketplace ecologies. In a country where an online community (votefortheworst.com) can claim influence over the results as America elects its next Idol, it makes no sense that some record companies haven’t tapped into the place where their tiny niche market is lurking. Yes, here they are: online. Then again, I haven’t bought that iPod yet.
I think my toes have left the diving board. I just opened an iTunes account and downloaded my first song: Stacy Q’s 7-minute-plus 1986 opus “Two of Hearts.” I surrendered and, as the lyrics of the song state, a feeling of “I-I-I-I-I-I need, I need, you” overtook my mouse navigations. But I can assure you, this isn’t just some guilty pleasure from my past. It’s vital, err, research for a piano piece I’m working. I swear.