Lots of iPod worship today over at 10 Zen Monkeys. Steven Levy, author of The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness, is interviewed by RU Sirius. Here’s a taste:
RU: You talk a little bit in the book about how iPod â€” and digital music in general â€” is changing how people perceive music as a package. We went from the LP â€” 20 minutes to a side â€” to the CD, where bands were expected to come up with 60-70 minutes worth of worthy stuff (which generally they failed to do). And now, itâ€™s completely fragmented. And most people are just interested in picking up on this tune or that tune. Talk a little bit about how thatâ€™s changing peopleâ€™s perceptions of music and how itâ€™s affecting the artist.
SL: I think weâ€™re just beginning to see how this translates into different modes of how music gets composed and gets released. The medium has always affected the work itself. We had the era of singles, when all the creative force went into creating one song that stood on its own. Then we went to the world of LPs, where you have these two 20-minute sets, so to speak. Later we move to CDs and you had about an hour to fill. Very few artists were actually able to fill that in one coherent package. A lot of people never even listen to the end of a CD. Now, thereâ€™s no limit. You could do one song and thatâ€™s great. You could release a three songs set. If you want to do one piece that is 20 minutes long, you could do that too. Eventually, it will sink in to artists that they donâ€™t have to limit what they do to formats. Itâ€™s a total open slate. That can be a little scary, because previously everyone was operating in the same timeframe. They started off knowing what they had to fill in to create coherent works of art. Now I think itâ€™s going to be trickier.
Much more — plus an mp3 of the entire interview — on the 10 Zen Monkeys site.