12 Apr 04iTunes Randomization Makes Subliminal Messages.


After recent questioning of iTunes randomization scheme sparked by users noticing that like songs are often played close together, researchers have discovered Apple is employing a scheme that creates subliminal messages.

Unlike subliminal messages that appear as quickly flashed image in video, Apple’s subliminal messages occur over the length of an iTunes playlist of sufficient size. According to researchers at MIT, songs in iTunes are strung together to create messages such as “Buy a new G5” and “You want an iPod mini” when listened to over the course of several hours.

“These messages are only noticeable when the entire playlist is compressed down to several seconds,” said Dr. Ranjit Vij of MIT’s Department of Acoustic Studies.

Vij was unable to confirm rumors that several iTunes beta testers being kept under close guard at Apple’s Cupertino campus were under the impression that they were Mac-using chickens or that if you play “Channel Surfing” by Feature Cast backwards you can hear Steve Jobs say “I buried Woz.”

iTunes users were shocked by the revelation.

“I thought something funny was going on!” said Mac user Scott Martin. “The other day I was jamming to iTunes for a while and all of a sudden I had this compulsion to run out to the Apple Store and buy a new iBook! I don’t need a new iBook! Apple’s trying to turn us into mindless zombies that will buy whatever they sell!

“Which, admittedly, is not that different from the way things have always been… so, I’m not really sure why they’ve gone to this much trouble.”

Apple spokesperson Cynthia Mclaren vehemently denied the accusation of subliminal messages in iTunes.

“There is absolutely no truth to these rumors,” Mclaren said. “Besides, subliminal is such a dirty word, laden as it is with negative connotations. I mean, ‘liminal’ isn’t even a word, so how can something be ‘subliminal.’ Right? It’s ludicrous.

“I have a feeling this will all blow over after the next iTunes update,” she added, smiling.

“Don’t write that I was smiling,” Mclaren said.

No Responses to “iTunes Randomization Makes Subliminal Messages.”

  1. jawyn says:

    I knew it!

  2. Conspiracy Theorist says:

    From now on I will order all of my songs by hand rather then trust apple to do it for me… although there is something to be said for those G5’s…

    –Conspiracy Theorist

  3. larry the hobo says:

    I want a new iBook.

    I also want a drink. And, well, a ticket to Prague. And maybe, I would like a new pair of shoes.

    If I stop listening to iTunes, will these feelings go away?

    I mean, I don’t even have feet. Maybe I want shoes, but I need a new skateboard to roll around on?

  4. Pirogoeth says:

    I want to be Steve Jobs’ monkey boy…

  5. Peter says:

    In general we underestimate how often clumps occur in random sequences. This causes you to be surprised at “coincidences” when actually there is just so much stuff going on that coincidences will happen more than we intuitively expect. Of course, iTunes could also just have a rotten random number generator!!

  6. Peter says:

    BTW, liminal means the threshold at which a physical or mental reaction can occur to a stimulus. So it is too a word! Which is interesting, now that I think of it, because by this defintion, we can’t really have, or there is no such thing as, a subliminal message because if we respond then it is a liminal message. So, recursively, liminal is a word and subliminal messages can’t happen. Except that this comment has a subliminal message that causes you to doze off.

  7. Nathan Strum says:

    I don’t know about any of this subliminal stuff, and no offense to Masako, but I think Cynthia Mclaren is hot.

    She could get me to buy a G5 any day.

    Yowza.

  8. Cap'n Winky says:

    From now on I will only be humming my music.

  9. troy says:

    Spelling mistake alert!!!!!!

    Please deal with immediately (world might be in danger).

    Buy is not spelt by 🙂

  10. MacStansbury says:

    um…First Post?

    never mind.

    hey, does anybody else go into a viral rage of hatred and meanness when you have it on shuffle-play and you get something not only from the same artist, but from the same album, and sometimes the song next to each other?

    man I want an iPod…

  11. Billy Mays says:

    Billy Mays Here:

    Can you say “Oxytunes”?

  12. thescoot106 says:

    That explains a lot.

  13. Fringe says:

    W00t! MIT got a mention. Looks like Jack of As the Apple Turns still has some influence over CARS.

    (Jack graduated from MIT if ya didn’t know.)

  14. ipodguy says:

    The truth finally comes out.

  15. MICHAEL EISNER says:

    the other message you may receive is:

    buy apple stock

    sell microsoft stock

  16. MICHAEL EISNER says:

    oh yeah i forgot to mention…….

    buy disney stock

    buy pixar stock

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’m amused 🙂

    But “liminal” is actually a word…

  18. PsyPro™ says:

    “Subliminal” derives from the work of a very early psychophysicist, Herbart. He argued well before Freud (although Freud explicitly denied getting the idea from reading Herbart) that there is a “limen of consciousness” —meaning a “line” or threshold below which all thoughts, ideas and perceptions were unavailable to consciousness, but through reciprocal inhibition (i.e., “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”) could cause themselves or other thoughts, ideas and perceptions to rise above the “limen”, i.e., become conscious. It is not a stupid or unsophisticated idea; indeed, it may even be true, although there is little extant evidence for it.

    For further details, you could read:

    http://people.uleth.ca/~vokey/pdf/Submess.pdf

  19. Tenniru says:

    That’s not the half of it! There was this one time I really wanted a new iBook G4 to replace my old G3, and I listened to iTunes, and then I didn’t want it. Instead, I wanted an Apple IIe. I suspect it was some kind of reversal effect. But whatever the situation is, I have found a new affinity for text-based games.

  20. Anonymous says:

    In order, chaos. In chaos, order.

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