iPod: a personalized sound world for its consumers

Bull, Michael iPod: a personalized sound world for its consumers. Revista Comunicar, 2010, vol. XVII, n. 34, pp. 55-63. [Journal article (Print/Paginated)]


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English abstract

For the first time in industrialised culture, over fifty percent of the population possesses the ability to privatise whatever environment they might be in through the use of a dedicated MP3 player or through a mobile phone with MP3 capabilities. The consumption of technologically mediated sound in the 20th and 21st centuries represents an increasingly significant mode of ‘being-in-theworld’ in which the ‘self’ claims a mobile and auditory territory for itself through a specific form of ‘sensory gating’ permitting the user to screen out unwanted sounds through the creation of their own seductive soundscape. The untrammelled pleasures of creating a privatised mobile soundworld resonates through urban and cultural theory posing a set of interrelated theoretical problems relating to both our relation to the spaces we move through. the nature and meaning of public and private space., the potential for urban aestheticisation, urban retreat and withdrawalIn this paper I discuss the use of Apple iPod in terms of its use as a technological support system of users. The paper draws upon the Internet responses of over one thousand iPod users worldwide between 2004 and 2005. The paper investigates the specific nature of auditory mediation that use entails. It argues that iPod use can usefully be interpreted as a form of pleasurable toxicity within which the ‘total mediated’ world of users lies a dream of unmediated experience - of direct access to the world and one’s emotions.

Spanish abstract

Por primera vez desde el nacimiento de la cultura industrializada, más de la mitad de la población es capaz de personalizar cualquier parte de su entorno gracias a un reproductor de MP3 o a través de un teléfono móvil. El consumo de sonidos mediados tecnológicamente durante los siglos XX y XXI representa una forma cada vez más importante de «estar-en-el-mundo»; el «yo» reclama un territorio sonoro móvil a través de una especie de «compuerta sensorial» que le permite filtrar los sonidos que no le interesan y crear el paisaje sonoro que más le satisface. El placer sin límites que supone crear un mundo sonoro móvil de carácter privado plantea, para la teoría urbana y cultural, un conjunto de problemas teóricos que tienen que ver con la relación con los espacios en los que nos movemos, la naturaleza y el significado del espacio público y privado, el potencial de la estetización de lo urbano, y la incomunicación de la ciudad. También cuestiona el conocimiento de las tecnologías que se usan para mediatizar gran parte de la experiencia cotidiana. En este artículo se analiza el uso del iPod como soporte tecnológico para los consumidores. Se basa en las respuestas de más de un millar de usuarios entre 2004-05. Plantea que el uso del iPod puede ser interpretado positivamente si se considera como una forma de toxicidad placentera en la que bajo el mundo «totalmente mediatizado» de los usuarios subyace un anhelo de experiencia no mediatizada –de acceso directo al mundo y a las emociones de cada uno.

Item type: Journal article (Print/Paginated)
Keywords: Mediation, toxicity, we-ness, filtering, music, mp3, mobile, mediatización, toxicidad, sentido de fraternidad, filtrado, música, mp3, movilidad.
Subjects: E. Publishing and legal issues. > EB. Printing, electronic publishing, broadcasting.
H. Information sources, supports, channels. > HZ. None of these, but in this section.
Depositing user: Alex Ruiz
Date deposited: 10 Aug 2012
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:23
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10760/17410


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