How to make your album CD iPod-friendly

At the moment everyone's talking about the recently-announced Apple iPhone, which will have iPod functionality on it. One angle I'd like to take is that it represents just how far the iPod has become, and hints at how the iPod will become even more ubiquitous in the future. Most of the people I know now have an iPod. I know a few more with non-iPod MP3 players, but most have iPods. Furthermore, most of the tracks on most of these iPods got their via being ripped from a commercial album CD at some point, either directly or via a friend (or BitTorrent).

Listening to album CDs on a portable MP3 player has become so common, it's probably time that artists and record companies started printing CDs with this usage in mind. I've been thinking about this for a few days, and have put together a handy list of things that should be done to make the whole transferring-a-CD-to-your-iPod experience as friendly and useful as possible.

Musicians should, of course, feel free to break any of these guidelines should they have a reason to do so (music is all about innovation after all), but for your bog standard indie album release, it's worth thinking about how the music will be consumed on an iPod.


Thanks for all the comments. They've all given me a chance to further think about and reflect upon some of the ideas that I touched on in this post - so much so that I'm halfway through a follow-up post, but haven't gotten around to finishing it yet. I'm going to elaborate more of the concept of 'writing to a format', as Ed puts it, and what this might mean for the iPod (other MP3 players available, etc etc). I'm not seriously suggesting that these ideas should become constraints upon music, but rather look at ways in which artists might best adapt and write to the formats and behaviours that iPod-style devices have given rise to.