Moby, Michael, Mark and Missy

I haven’t checked Apple’s iTunes in a few weeks, in part because there is so very little to choose from. I mean, I don’t want to download the new Rod Stewart or Eagles albums, both of which are top-featured on their iTunes home page. BUT, what I find most interesting and innovative now is their Celebrity Playlists, which are basically mix tapes, set up and refined by folks like Moby, Michael Stipe, Mark Ronson, and Missy Elliott. The songs these artists pick and choose is as interesting as any other person’s and the cost is rather prohibitive — Mr. Stipe’s 31 songs costs $30.69. But one doesn’t have to purchase the entrie list and can simply “sample” the music on display. The extravagance of posting for-sale mixed playlists on the web does more damage, however, to the idea of the LP, the album-as-art, and the probability that records as we know them will be around five years hence.