MAY 2003 IN

IPod On Stage

To demonstrate the versatility of the new iTunes Music Store and the ease of use of the new iPod, the Apple Store brought in a d.j. for a recent evening. In case you’re not familiar, the iPod is a digital music player barely larger than an audio cassette, and the iTunes Music Store is an online music-download site that sells music for around 99 cents a song. The d.j. basically had his choice of songs and styles from the iTunes Music Store, jumping easily from reggae to Texas swing, from Led Zeppelin to the Wallflowers.

Just as impressive, though, was the sight of a d.j. with seemingly no equipment in front of him. All the music came from two iPods so small they seemed to disappear into the stands that supported them. It made me think about the use of iPods in a live music act. The small metallic boxes would virtually disappear in any musical stage setup, and they are easy to operate whether you want to play a single song or a list of songs. It takes only a moment to adjust a playlist and only a minute to load a show’s worth of tracks from a computer. Given all this, I imagine the iPod might be the practical medium for backing tracks for a live performer such as myself. Of course, I’ll have to try this to see how it works, but I bet we’ll be seeing lots of bands with iPods on stage in the future — except that in most cases, we won’t quite be able to pick out the iPod from the audience.

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