Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Spreading iTunes sharing

I’ve now convinced several more of my colleagues to turn on their iTunes sharing. The results are interesting:

  • Nearly everyone I drop in on is listening to someone else’s music now, rather than their own. This is probably just a test-the-cool-new-feature thing, a phase that will end in a while.
  • I have a lot more music on my machine than everyone else in my office put together (over 20 GB– I need to get a new iPod eventually). Apparently I’ve been unusually systematic about converting my CD collection to MP3.
  • I might have to reevaluate my opinions of a couple colleagues, based on the surprising edginess of their music collections. Does that person down the hall listen to Nine Inch Nails while she’s driving the kids home in the minivan? Or is this a strictly work thing?
  • iTunes lets you authorize your purchased music to be played on up to five devices. If you have an iPod, that means you consume two of them; and if you buy a lot of music, and turn on music sharing, that means that allowing other people to listen to your purchased music requires authorizing their computers. This means that even among the people in your little sharing circle, there can be only a couple people who get access to everything in your collection. The licensing system unintentionally is designed to make you distinguish between your friends, and your real intimates.

[To the tune of Evanescence, “Going Under,” from the album Fallen.]

1 Comment

  1. If you want to access your home iTunes from work you can use Zerospan ( to bridge the two computers. If you know how to set up SSH tunnels you could use something more primitive like rendezvous beacon or rendezvous proxy.

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