How Much Does Shuffle Play Really Matter?

walkmanBeing 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]


    Generally not a fan of shuffle because i like to appreciate albums as a whole but i do find it good on long car trips by myself where i can't change albums easily.

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