Being able to shuffle your music at random is one of the main benefits of the digital music era, but is it something you really use on a regular basis?
The BBC News Magazine recently wrote up the results of an interesting experiment: asking a 13-year old to forsake an iPod and instead try out an original, tape-playing Walkman. Apart from the predictable grumbling about the size and not realising you could turn the tape over, one of Scott Campbell's biggest complaints was the lack of a shuffle feature:
Another notable feature that the iPod has and the Walkman doesn't is "shuffle", where the player selects random tracks to play. Its a function that, on the face of it, the Walkman lacks. But I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down "rewind" and releasing it randomly - effective, if a little laboured.
In practice, shuffle tends to divide music lovers. Many enjoy the unexpected nature of surfing into forgotten corners of their collection, but others prefer the whole-of-album experience that comes from listening to a planned sequence of tracks.
So we want to know: which side of the fence are you on? Is shuffle play (whether on an iPod or elsewhere) a critical feature for you, a nice but not necessary extra, or a nuisance you never touch? Share your groove in the comments. Picture from Wikimedia Commons.
Giving up my iPod for a Walkman [BBC News Magazine]