By Paul Fiore, Copywriter
The Walkman Dead
Or how Last.fm has changed the way I listen to music.
Do you know me? Perhaps you’ve seen me slouch through the streets with white iPod earphone speakers blasting in my ears. Notice that glazed look in my eyes? You may stop and wave hello, but do not expect a response. When the music is playing, I simply am not there.
The music blasts from inside my ears, pouring out from my head and onto the streets. The world has become my own private music video. People’s movements are matching the beat of the song. George Michael is crying out, “I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm…”
Music used to be a private experience. I could walk the streets in confidence, knowing no one could tell if my iPod was playing the Black Keys or the Black Eyed Peas. But all this has changed. Thanks to a little website called Last.fm, every single song I play is carefully noted, “scrobbled” and posted on my Last.fm profile page. And anyone can see it.
Last.fm watches silently like HAL-9000, judging my every song choice, sizing me up for the faker I am. Last.fm casually asks, “Where are all the songs by Joy Division, Animal Collective, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine and Kraftwerk that you claim to listen to? All I see is Rick Astley, Warrant, Terence Trent D’Arby, Barry Manilow and the Spice Girls.”
Last.fm cannot differentiate between “serious listening” and “ironic listening”. Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” was a shuffle error! Beyoncé’s “All the Single Ladies” was for comedic effect! Ace of Base’s “I Saw the Sign” was a mislabelled track!
Last.fm sneers and says, “Save it for the judge. I have seen the skeletons in your iTunes library. And I am publishing them all for the world to see.”
I lunge through the street and the iPod around my neck suddenly feels like a boulder strapped around my throat. I ignore the old ladies passing out fliers. I am blind to the beggars waiting patiently by the ATM. I do not even see the semi-trailer roaring up the road, missing me by inches. I am making a beeline for the nearest rubbish bin. I stumble up and hang on to the rim of the bin, breathing heavily. I have to throw the iPod away.
I drop the evil device into the rubbish and walk off. But something is pulling me back.
Last.fm smirks. “Your earphones are still attached.”