Playlist Sharing Opens New Window

from San Francisco Chronicle: The old adage used to be “you are what you eat.” But with the advent of digital music and the popularity of gadgets like the iPod, now it’s “you are what’s on your playlist.”
Last week, musicologists and media pundits around the world had a great time trying to divine what makes President Bush tick by analyzing the songs loaded on his iPod.
But playlist watching has also become a parlor game played by college students and office workers hoping for insight into the lives of people around them. They use a feature in Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes digital music management program that allows a limited number of people to surf and hear songs in someone else’s library.
Playlist peeking isn’t limited to your neighbors. A number of famous iTunes consumers have published their lists of favorite songs on the iTunes Music Store site, including Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, and Broadway composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
In a report released earlier this month, researchers from the Palo Alto Research Center, known as PARC, and the Georgia Institute of Technology studied 13 workers at one small company and found they were forming judgments about co-workers based on the songs they found in each others’ iTunes music libraries.
At the company, the employees became aware that their music was projecting an image of themselves to co-workers, Grinter said in an interview.
That caused some playlist anxiety. One worker said he was worried others would get the wrong impression because he downloaded songs by Justin Timberlake and Michael McDonald for his wife.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.