Addicted to novelty since 2001

How Do You Use Your MP3 Player?

I’ve often wondered what the most common use case was among users of mobile MP3 players. So, I figured I’d ask:

In case there’s any confusion, here are some examples:

  • Option #1: you create playlists on your desktop (presumably), transfer them to your iPod, and then play them. These playlists aren’t album-specific (so, if you most often listen to “my 23 favourite Beatles songs”, choose this option).
  • Option #2: You most often set your iPod player to play the songs on Revolver.
  • Option #3: You most often set your player to only play songs by The Beatles.
  • Option #4: You most often set your player to only play Pop-Rock songs.
  • Option #5: You randomly play songs from the entire collection of music on your iPod.

Huh. In retrospect, that may just add to the confusion. Hopefully it’s kind of clear. Personally, I’m all over the map, but I most commonly sort by a specific artist (option #3, for those playing along at home).

8 Responses to “How Do You Use Your MP3 Player?”

  1. Rebecca

    All of the above, depending on circumstances. For instance – last weekend I had a road trip, so I did random play. On my way to work, I listen to a specific album. On my evening walk, I listen to a certain genre or artist. And I listen to playlists if I’m running errands around town.

  2. richard

    Depends on my mood and whether I want to listen to something specific or not. With music I tend to be an “album listener” rather than someone who listens to single songs from an artist. I’d like to be able to random through an artist’s songs, but not a huge fan of random when it comes to the whole content of my player.

    I listen to a variety of podcasts, mostly music ones, but some talk based as well, and I don’t tend to want repeat play ever.

    So, I use smart playlists…

    One for “unheard tracks” consisting of two rules; “If playcount is zero and my rating is not 5 stars”

    One for each “unheard podcast X” consisting of three rules; the two above plus “if artist contains”

    I don’t use the rating stars for what they were intended for, but as the only ipod-editable way of flagging a track. Since the “playcount” of a track doesn’t increment until the track has completed playing, I’d have to fast forward through the track to flag it as read. This way it’s click-click-scroll clockwise-click to bump a track out of the Unheard list.

    I also keep a couple different smart playlists based on time; track was added in the last 7 days, track was added in the last 14 days, and track was added in the last 30.

    Since I have a rather large number of MP3s, and I tend to move things in and out of my iPod pretty routinely, knowing what I added recently helps me remember what I just added… helpful in remembering what the name of that latest CD purchase was.

  3. Red Wolf

    I have two smartlists on my iPod. One is set to grab the last 25 songs uploaded, the other grabs 25 songs at random that aren’t spoken word or podcasts. I use the random playlist for commuting to and from work and the recent uploads one for when I forget to refresh the random playlist.

    When I’m at work, I usually listen to podcasts, audio books and spoken word tracks which have been dumped into static playlists for ease of findability.

  4. George

    I have thirty or so smart playlists based on ratings, play counts, dates the songs were added to the library, dates the songs came out on, mixes of various kinds—most popular with least popular songs in just the right proportion, genres that do or don’t play together well, etc. The only thing I could tell for sure—I do not listen to the same album, artist or genre. I like to mix it—Rachmaninov is so much better after Propellerheads (and vice versa).

  5. Steve

    I tend to listen to a pile of speech based podcasts, which one listened to are deleted.

  6. donna

    Bought a shuffle because it very specifically addresses how I normally listen to music — option 5. Unless I’m going to sleep, this is also how I play my music at home.

  7. Derek

    I do some of each, but I wish you’d included an option for podcasts/audio books/etc., since I spend a good portion of my bike-riding time to and from work listening to various spoken-word shows, as I used to do with CBC Radio One, or would do with other talk radio if it were at all good.

  8. mrG

    Another interesting poll might be to ask people for this same list, only sorted by “most often … rarely” in a gradient of 1 to 5, then map the results.

    This way, we remove the null effect of people choosing one option because they couldn’t decide, and I think we’d get a clearer picture of how MP3 players are actually used intead of a reading of the sort of listeners who use MP3 players.

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