Wired has an interview with “Professor iPod” Michael Bull, talking about the social impact of that gadget. Actually it’s a bit of a misnomer, since he’s an expert on the social impact of personal stereos, from Walkmans on (profile).
If I had finished my Ph.D. — social history of music — I would have been all over this guy. Since I was interested in the divide between public and private music (performances vs. listening at home) and active and passive music (playing vs. listening), as well as the usual gender and class stuff, his work would have fit right in.
Now that I think of it, doesn’t GarageBand do something in terms of invigorating the active aspect of music, opening up opportunities for playing and, through sharing the music, performing that otherwise would have had obstacles insurmountable for some — whether through lack of lessons or lack of technology (not being able to afford Pro Tools or the bank of sound equipment plugged into the back of a Power Mac).