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Music has become the standard for judging all portable technology. Every cell phone manufacturer sells a model with built-in music, and players have been integrated into phones, jewelry and even sunglasses.
Car manufacturers have also gotten into the game, with built-in USB docks to charge the players in some models, as well as built-in adapters to plug right into the stereo system.
The ability to store music has also prompted the rise in writeable CD sales as people make the modern equivalent of mixed tapes. It has also spurred the sale of external hard drives, as people acquire massive music libraries that encroach on their storage.
The appetite for music has also motivated the storage industry to improve flash memory capacity, essentially doubling it every year.
The success of digital music has also led to the digitization of other media, like television shows and games. It’s now possible to live without a television, providing you have a high speed connection, don’t mind waiting for downloads or watching on small screens, and know where to go to get your favourite programs.
That in turn has created more demand for Media PCs and bridge devices like the Slingbox ( www.slingmedia.com ) and Apple TV (www.apple.com).
Obviously music hasn’t been the only catalyst for every change in technology over the past eight years or so, but you can’t discount its impact either.
Before music, PCs were primarily work machines — word processors, spreadsheets, and calculators — that also came with minesweeper. Since the implementation of digital music they have become home entertainment devices that probably get more use than the stereos and televisions in most households.
Music also came first with every recent development in technology. Computers have always been limited by two things, the speed of information coming in, and by the amount of data they can store and process. By that standard it’s always been easier to digitize, store, and transfer music than other larger and more complex files. Music was also quicker to standardize formats than were other media types.
Here’s a short list of music sites worth visiting, and celebrating — www.pitchforkmedia.com , www.projectplaylist.com , www.cmj.com , www.futureofmusicbook.com , http://radio3.cbc.ca , www.podcast.net , www.podcast.com . .