Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Can you class your iPod as a dependent for tax purposes?

Kenny here. Stan left the door a little ajar and I've been toying with breaking in for a while.

In keeping with the musical vibe that Stan has echoing around in a Portishead-esque manner, I thought I'd drop in and embarrass myself. I made the absolutely fatal mistake of buying an iPod Touch about 6 weeks ago and it is not an exaggeration to say that it really has changed the way I deal with music. Rather than having to remember what it was that I heard a few bars of and then spending hours in record stores, I just bob onto iTunes and voila, I can pick and choose.

The amount of money I have spent on digital music since the iPod acquisition far outstrips the amount I have spent over the previous two years. If record companies fear the digital age, they could do worse to secure their futures than to make sure that every 14 year-old in the world has an iPod for free. Seriously, that would be "job done". Sales of online music would go through the roof. The kids get to pick their music and carry it around, there are ways of getting around the DRM so they can swap tracks (much like we used to tape albums) and music industry margins will soar to preposterous percentages. Everyone wins. Except the parents, but they never did anyway.

The real power of iTunes, when unleashed on a thirty-something geek, is that as well as sitting in really boring technical meetings and downloading cheesy "those were the days" CDs or individual tracks (to alleviate the ennui), they can pretend that they're hip by having a quick preview of the latest [insert famous person here] CD.

For example, I've downloaded Lou Reed while discussing MySQL clusters. I kid ye not. I've pulled down random tracks that I like by forgotten one-hit wonders such as Lisa Loeb, Edie Brickell, etc. while designing networks. On the other side, I've been pulling down videos (that I would never have got my hands on in the UK) by Fiona Apple, Barenaked Ladies, etc.. The other evening I was surfing the music channels -- I had heard of Shakira in passing but had no idea whether I liked her or not. From the TV video I thought I might (strange as most her catalogue appears to be happy little dance numbers and I'm more prone to psychotic pianists). I downloaded the whole video and then test-drove a few other tracks. I now have the whole CD. This evening, I've done pretty much the same thing with Gabriella Cilmi.

Two months ago both Shakira and Gabriella Cilmi would have long have escaped my mind by the time I found myself in a record shop. And if I had remembered, chances are I'd have weighed up the one track I had heard and passed because I couldn't guarantee I would like the rest.

I insist that all Stan's disciples and constituents (remember, vote Stan) equip themselves with an iPod Touch. Not only will your music habits change forever, but come the revolution you'll be able to download Stan's coded podcasts giving you instructions on which public figure to assassinate next.


I had meant to review Gabriella Cilmi, rave about Shakira's dancing and predictably reinforce the rumour that I'm absolutely in love with Fiona Apple's voice. Maybe if Stan ever gets around to the "Mad Men" post, I'll oblige.

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