The world of music today is a brave new one indeed. Every time I blink it seems that a new streaming service is born. People are using these services to fulfil all their music needs. And I think that’s sad.
The only thing is, I can’t quite put my finger on why I think it’s sad. I’ve tried streaming services before, and they have many great features — shared public playlists, a vast array of music, a solid user base — but I’ve never been able to stick with a streaming service, always preferring to manage my own personal collection of music files. It’s a far cry from the attic of a meticulous record collector. There’s no familiar scent of papery dust. There’s no musty, almost tangible nostalgia. But there’s a sense of collection. A collection I can catalogue and tag far too pedantically. A collection I control. A collection I can play whenever and wherever I want.
That last point has always been a bit of a struggle for me however. My phone has limited storage and any music I want to play offline has to be downloaded from Google Play. It’s more convenient than Spotify, but not by much. Which is why the inheritance of a humble 5th generation iPod Nano has been a surprisingly pleasant experience for me. While adding music to the device from MusicBee wasn’t exactly seamless (thanks Apple), it is possible via a workaround, and it didn’t take long to set it up with 14GB of my favourite tunes. It also didn’t take long to remember just how great iPods were and still are.
First of all, this thing is pretty much indestructible. It’s built light and it’s built solid. While it was already a bit bruised when I received it, the Nano is quite robust to say the least, yet thin at the same time. Battery life is great, with hours and hours of playback potential, and that’s to be expected; there’s no battery-sapping WiFi and Bluetooth here, just music. Plus the click wheel remains an asset, one which myself and many others will miss in future Apple products.
The Nano isn’t perfect, however. The menus seem clumsy at times with poor sorting. Compilations are treated weirdly. I don’t know why there’s a camera. I could really do with a few more gigabytes. But features aside, the iPod’s been great so far. In a world where it would be so easy to simply listen to the same Spotify summer playlist on repeat, this device is letting me rediscover some of the most enjoyable nooks of my own collection.