Lindsay Zoladz, writing for The Ringer, has a great story on the role of the iPod Classic in today's music streaming landscape. I understand where she's coming from, and I found this passage on the paradox of choice particularly accurate:
“When I’m searching for something to listen to on Spotify, I feel like I end up listening to the same albums and artists again and again,” my friend Becca wrote in an email, after I asked a handful of acquaintances about their post-iPod listening habits. “My brain by itself isn’t good at cataloguing everything I love.”
The psychologist Barry Schwartz has written (or, if you don’t have too much time on your hands, has TED-Talked) about a related phenomenon he calls “paradox of choice” — the notion that, although we tend to think of freedom of choice as an inherently good thing, too much choice can leave us feeling paralyzed and anxiety-ridden. “With so many options to choose from,” he says, “people find it very difficult to choose at all.” I personally have proven this theory many times over in the past few months, when I’ve stared for a few moments at the infinite void that is the Apple Music search bar and decided, “I guess I will just listen to Pablo or Lemonade again.” Another friend I emailed summed up the Paradox of Digital Music Listening succinctly: “With device-bound listening, I absolutely feel limited by [storage] space. With streaming, I feel limited by my own memory.”
This is why I often buy videogames from a small shop in my hometown. I could open the App Store, or the eShop, or the PlayStation Store, and buy anything I want. But there's just so much stuff. There's too many games and too many reviews and too many Let's Plays to choose from. Sometimes, it's nice to have fewer options.