This morning I came across an intriguing article at Wired.com called IPod Muzak Isn't Same Old Song. The article details similar ideas being used by two different entrepreneurs; one who rents out iPods with electronica music playlists as Hip Muzak for upscale clients, and another who lends iPods to potential clients for no charge, as a music promo tool for his Philly music store.
Then, I read this article in TiBITS called Internet-Guided Offline Recreation (IGOR): Database Rituals which talks about the phenomena of sharing things between groups of people. The article discussed Geocaching, where groups of GPS users 'hide' artifacts and provide general coordinates for others in the group to locate the item; and BookCrossing, where book readers paste an ID tag on a book's inside cover and leave it in a public place for others to pick-up, read, comment on at a website and then leave in public for another reader to discover. Cool stuff!
These two articles got me thinking... what if a casual iPod trading service got started? For instance, two or more friends with iPods could organize a bunch of their favorite songs and cycle their iPods between the other friends? It'd be kinda like creating your own ultimate mix tape club where your friends could hear your favorite music and you'd get to hear their musical selections in return. When your iPod returns, build a new playlist and send it out again.
I remember having great fun making mix tapes for friends of mine back in my college days; it was a blast to find cool new songs and then share them, and to hear tapes my friends had made of their favorite tunes. I even did a little DJ work between songs back then, which by the way, sounds incredibly cheesy to me now.
I'd love to create a month-long mix collection on an iPod and share it with a small circle of friends with somewhat similar tastes in tunes, though with anywhere from 5 to 30 Gigs to fill up, getting playlists together might take some time to compile! :-)