The Music Keeps Playing On and On

I love it when technology makes life easier. Let me give you an example. We hosted a poker night last night and everyone seemed to have a good time. I'm the sort that enjoys music playing in the background pretty much any time other than when I'm watching TV or asleep, so you know we had music at the party.

In the past, to keep the music going, I've used a CD changer, and even just a stack of CDs by the DVD player for easy access. Both of these solutions are less than ideal. The CD changer holds 300 discs, which is great, other than the guests at the party really only care to listen to about 10 discs in there. Combine that with slow disc changing times and you end up with pauses in the music, and stuff you didn't want to hear. Playing individual discs with a DVD/CD player is nice because you can limit it a little more, but you still have to come up with albums that everyone likes, or you have to spend time burning CDs ahead of time. There is also a terrible pause when the disc finishes and you haven't yet gotten up to start the next one. Of course, there is always radio, but then you get crappy commercials and you still have the problem of deciding on a station that satisfies everyone.

Last night, I tried whipping up a playlist with a little something for everyone and letting iTunes stream to my Airport Express. I think this worked well. It only took me 10 or 15 minutes to select enough tracks for an 8 hour playlist and I was ready. The music never stops (other than a couple of WiFi interference moments), I can easily include a wide variety of music, and folks can even check out the playlist to see what they heard that night. Try doing that with 300 discs on shuffle. You better sit close to the person that knows all of the music so they can hand write you a playlist as the tracks play.

Now certainly Apple isn't the only one offering a streaming audio box that you can hook up to your stereo, but I'll tell you what, it couldn't get much easier. The Airport Express is a small brick that plugs in to the back of my receiver, so I don't need any extra room for the component, and I don't have one more power cord. Once configured, iTunes lets me choose "Living Room" as the output source. I get to use all of my organization (ripping and playlists) that I've already applied for my iPod. It all just works!

BTW, anyone want to buy my 300 disc CD changer? I have no use for it anymore.

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