Are iPods Ruining Pop Music?

Sep 12th, 2007 | By | Category: Commentary, iPods & Portable Media Players, Strange

iPod adThe Wall Street Journal has an article today that suggests that iPods and MP3s are ruining pop music.

The idea is that the dynamic compression that has become popular to make music sound louder, combined with audio file compression, which throws away details of the music, have combined to make pop music horrible.

According to the Journal, “because both compressed music and the iPod’s relatively low-quality earbuds have many limitations, music producers fret that they are engineering music to a technical lowest common denominator.” The result, according to the Journal, is music that’s loud and harsh.

“Ten years ago, music was warmer; it was rich and thick, with more tones and more real power,” says L.A. engineer Jack Joseph Puig. “But newer records are more brittle and bright. They have what I call implied power. It’s all done with delays and reverbs and compression to fool your brain.”

The WSJ seems to have forgotten that for half the history of modern pop music, it was engineered to sound good relatively primitive stereos and car radios. Today’s portable media players deliver sound that’s a leap ahead of the AM car radios, transistor radios and Walkmans of the past.

FergieIs It Fergie’s Fault?

While Fergie’s My Humps may be craptaculous, it’s not because of portable media players.¬†

The Wall Street Journal’s argument¬†is one part neo-luddism and one part generational bias. Before they write off today’s pop, they may want to give another listen to past pop wonders, like¬† Judy In Disguise (With Glasses), Hippy, Hippy Shake, Pictures of Matchstick Men¬†or Napoleon Alexander’s They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Ha?

5 Responses to “Are iPods Ruining Pop Music?”

  1. jerseysoundguy says:

    Billboard’s Top Ten Albums from Sept 13 1997 include Puff Daddy, Oasis, Spice Girls, Hanson, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – is this what Mr. Puig thinks sounded “warmer…rich, and thick”?

  2. info says:

    I think what he’s saying is – “In my day, we listened to real music! Not that hippy-hop crap! It’s iPods that are to blame!”

  3. Murphy says:

    Puig is a knucklehead ‚Äî it’s not how he does it, so it must be bad.

    There are plenty, PLENTY of artists who deliver a warm sound digitally. It can be done. But it’s done by artists and engineers and producers who don’t work in the megacorp-owned studios in El Lay and Nu Yawk.

  4. Chuck says:

    That’s right. It’s the iPod’s fault that pop music today stinks. It couldn’t be the lack of talent or the dime-a-dozen sound-alike bands.

  5. [...] UPDATE! Podcasting News is talking about the same article and brought up a good point when they say: [...]

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