I'm still sans iPod and I'm not 100% sure I regret it ... yet.
Do you remember when you had a cassette case that would hold about 30 tapes and how much each tape meant to you? An iPod can't replicate that feeling.
I bought Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' and Miles Davis 'Round About Midnight' and Springsteen's 'Wild, Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle' on cassette from the bargain bin at Starship Records in Raleigh back in 1988. I still listen to those like they were performed by God himself. In Greensboro, after work on Saturdays, I would take my pay (cash, from Yum Yum's Better Ice Cream) and walk up to Lee Street to Collectibles and sort through endless bins of CDs, records and tapes just to figure out how to get the most bang for my $20 entertainment budget (the rest going for cigarettes and malt liquor - ewww). People used to own four or five records. Less maybe. They had a Christmas album by Johnny Mathis or Elvis or Andy Williams, they had a Tennessee Ernie Ford gospel, they had a Broadway soundtrack, maybe a couple more. Earlier, they had a Caruso and a hymnal. And they loved those songs and they knew hundreds more by heart and sang them together.
Maybe music should be more difficult to get than it is. I'm not sure. I do know the number of CDs you own or the number of songs you've downloaded is not relational to anything except how much you have to spend and what you choose to spend it on.
An iPod to me is such an aesthetic choice. Its funny. These days, we won't like certain bands because of how they look in their video or what our music press writes about them. Presentation of musicians has been going on for ages; image has been important in the industry for as long as any of us have been alive. Only now has listening to music become image-obsessed. It seems an iPod defines you every bit as much as listening to dusty 78s defined Steve Buscemi's character in 'Ghost World.'
I don't know if I want that much self-consciousness creeping into my listening. I'm afraid that happens - I'm totally AWARE of what I'm buying and how it makes me look - I just don't want it to infect something that was once as pure as a five record set of the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz.