What would you trust a “professional cookie eater and lipstick hoarder” on? Nothing much, really. Which is perhaps the point, since such descriptions condition us to lower our expectations, as do the opening disclaimers that BuzzFeed profits from referred sales. It seems to work with Sarah Han’s listicle, for which a heart emoticon is by far the most common response. A more likely scenario, though, is that most people had given up midway – perhaps sidetracked by the endless stream of links to other articles – and never saw or bothered about the feedback buttons.
I tend towards the latter because this listicle is sub-par even for its platform, in which ads are the content. Like others, it embeds hyperlinks in the title and at the end of each list item to retailers. But there is minimal elaboration; it’d have been useful to provide additional product information and user reviews as others have (example). The lack of research leads to misinformation; a sound engineer pointed out that the foam wall tiles (#23), unlike what’s implied by Han, do not actually help in soundproofing.
Stepping back from the missteps, are the products useful for the “music-obsessed person”? The one I found most interesting is SoundHound (#7), an app that helps one to identify tunes. Yet most items deal with problems that do not exist. Why need a speaker-embedded shower-head (#1) when I can just use your phone? Do I really need the “visual ambiance” of dancing water speakers (#10) or eighth-note measuring spoons (#11)? Perhaps these items appeal to a desire to build and express our identities around products.
Yet consumption at best provides a transient sense of respite (Miles 2003), and at worst hinders our existential needs (Schumaker 2016). What a music-loving person truly needs is surely more intangible, such as skills of listening, exposure to diverse music, and inclusive communities. This listicle will be much more useful if it links readers to online music courses, blogs, apps, and communities. What it most lacked is a little human touch that simulates the deeper comforts that music should ideally provide.
Han, Sarah. “23 Products Every Music-Obsessed Person Should Own.” BuzzFeed, May 13, 2016. Accessed May 17, 2017. https://www.buzzfeed.com/sarahhan/things-every-music-lover-needs-in-their-life?utm_term=.jt8kD4jzOX#.kt9YJEzAy0
Miles, Steven. 2003. “Researching Young People as Consumers: Can and Should We Ask Them Why?.” In Researching Youth, 170-185. Palgrave Macmillan UK.
Schumaker, John F. “Cultural Insanity: Ponerized Western Consumer Culture is Creating a Demoralized Man in Psycho-spiritual Crisis.” SOTT, April 1, 2016. Accessed May 17, 2017. https://www.sott.net/article/318269-Cultural-insanity-Ponerized-Western-consumer-culture-is-creating-a-demoralized-man-in-psycho-spiritual-crisis.