Phoning It In: What your Earpieces Declare About Your Likes and dislikes

30/04/13 8:27 PM

These days, it seems everybody walking the streets paying attention to tunes on their earpieces, what tune? We don’t recognize. We presume we know. Is a punk rocker at the back of a bus secretly jamming to Britney Spears? Or is a tracksuit-bottomed, highlight-headed girl looking forward to her friends actually moshing out with Black Flag? The pinstripe power suit in the train could be a massive Public Enemy fan or the area ASBO might be a jazz fan using a fondness for Coltrane’s sax playing.


People who don’t costume in any music-themed clothes style can stay carefully anonymous on the planet at large as music consumers. Or can they? Here are two brands and what they are saying about you:


Skullcandy are a new-ish make (founded 2003) and intended directly on the postpunk/goth/emo/whatever crowd. The clue is in the name and the child-friendly Stencilled graphitti skull logo. Designed to accompany bullet belts, Atticus shirts and skinny fit jeans, (the last relics of indisputable subculture now comfortably detached and replaced by mere consumption of appearance and product in one. Punk’s early vision, i.e, the flaunting of poverty may be overtaken by a generation prepared to use ready-ripped jeans and spraypaint-effect shirts, I, uh, mean whatever, man). Skullcandy earpieces appear in a variety of garish colours, also for a stark black and white for max appeal. Given the markup in price, it seems extremely unlikely that a consumer would acquire these headsets unless it was to make a statement in regards to the music itself. This person (even when they’re an 80 year old lady) is much more likely to be playing My Chemical Romance than they are Mozart.


Sennheiser earphones, distinctive by their lesser, skilled design are more the domain of the audiophile, the music nut as well as the gadget freak. This person, though they may be attired in comparable manner to the Skullcandy kid, is far more likely being playing Charles Mingus, a vintage Delta Blues or folk piece, appreciating it the way one might a exceptional wine, as well as all clever cultural nuances therein. This one is serious about music, and his/her disdain for bands of the minute may be equally significant. Expect a lecture at any second on the genius of Belgian techno or some obscure Japanese arse-band (NOTE: arse-music isn’t a real genre…yet)


So, the peripherals we use in the 21st century say as often about us as our record collections might. Even if we do not want them to? That definitely seems to be the case, anyway. Next: How come we iPod people so bloody smug?

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