Friday, June 09, 2006

iPods: Better than Beer!

Evidently, iPods are more popular among college students than beer. Well, more accurately, more college students consider the iPod to be "in" than consider beer to be "in". I can't imagine that means we'll see an end to beer consumption. But it is one more bit of evidence of the rise in popularity of the little digital music device that could.

I don't have one. I know...loser. Luddite. Caveman. I just don't. So, I'm going to take this unbiased stance to look inward at the iPod Nation. I remember when the iPod first came out: it certainly looked good, but it didn't really provide that much more functionality than other devices on the market. The interface was breakthrough, but now there are a few questions about its genesis.

But there are two things about the iPod Nation that are clearer in retrospect and help to explain why its so freakin' popular:

1) It delivers the seamless experience that people crave from digital devices and content
2) It acts as a badge for those who have one, telling the world that they "get it".

The first one is clear: iPod and iTunes have paved over the rocky road that split up devices and content. Along with an unending list of accessories, people can have their content with them wherever and whenever.

The second one is potentially more important. If the iPod is a savvy, sophisticated choice, you want to broadcast your own particular in-ness. The iconic headphones achieve this. As you walk down a block in any city, you can begin to pick out those who have taken the leap. If you're in the iPod Nation, you can quickly find your co-horts.

Test this theory: offer anyone you know with an iPod a free set of headphones which are better quality, but have a generic look. Forget it. The identification of membership is key to the product beneft.
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Blogger Garrett French - MarketSmart Interactive said...

I got a video ipod from my family for xmas + birthday (mom, dad, Tiana, Valerie, John all chipped in).

I never used it and ended up giving it to Val, whose ipod shuffle broke.

I kept the headphones to use on my powerbook though :)

9:55 AM  
Blogger Gary Stein said...

thank you for sharing


2:46 PM  
Anonymous Jackie Huba said...

For the most part, I would agree with the statement "The identification of membership is key to the product beneft."

But some of the early early adopters don't want to publicly associate with the product when the masses have adopted it. Even Seth Godin doesn't want to be known as an iPod owner:,2125,65278,00.html

10:08 AM  
Blogger Gary Stein said...

You know, right after I posted this, I saw a wildpost campaign for the Sansa product. They are positioning themselves as the alternative, taking a pretty strong shot at the herd mentality of the iPod. In their positioning, the Showing of the Earbuds signals your inability to Think Different.

Check it out at

10:23 AM  
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4:22 PM  
Anonymous Cell Phones and Accessories said...

telling the world that they "get it".

2:35 PM  

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