How Headphones Changed the World

by AIAIAI

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The Atlantic


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Your Distorted brain needs food and focus on this post-Distortion Monday. And brain food is exactly what The Atlantic provides in the form of this insightful feature on the cultural significance of headphones.

Sometimes it can be worthwhile to stop what you’re doing, so that you can take a minute to pause and reflect on the events unfolding around you. So much of what we do revolves around headphones that keeping the historical and socio-cultural perspective in mind when we’re engineering and marketing our latest headphones can be somewhat tricky. When you’re knee-deep in headphones, analyses pertaining to the grander scheme of things tend not to be a priority.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not necessary. In fact, as this insightful article demonstrates, research into these matters is nothing short of essential.

In his feature on headphones, Derek Thompson investigates why headphones are so ubiquitous in the contemporary workplace, how we use them to control our environment and the evolution of music technology from radio (which made music transmittable) over cars (mobile) through speakers (big) and silicon chips (small) ending up at headphones, which constitute ‘a fundamental shift in humans' basic relationship to music.’ According to Thompson.

Moreover, the article has its fair share of thought-provoking observations, which is why reading the whole thing would be well-advised. Check it out here.