Are iPods Ruining Pop Music?Sep 12th, 2007 | By James Lewin | Category: Commentary, iPods & Portable Media Players, Strange
The 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.
Is 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?