The BBC ran an interesting article asking (and seeking to explain) why young people like to broadcast their (often poor) music tastes to everyone in shouting distance on crummy, tinny mobile phones, from equally crummy tinny MP3/MP4 files.  The Urban Dictionary refers to this as “sodcasting“.

I think the article is wrong, and here’s why:  Based on my experience with call centres recently, every time I get put on hold I get to hear some new canned music.  My usual response is to put the phone into “speakerphone” mode so I can get on with other things at my desk, thus broadcasting the mess to the rest of the office.  This has two effects:

  1. Everyone else in the office gets an opportunity to ridicule the company in question, awarding points for the longest wait, the cheesiest music, the worst call quality, and the highest importance placed on the call.
  2. Everyone else gets to have a bit of their soul eaten by whatever garbage is spilling out of the phone.  It’s group therapy of sorts.  “I *so* know your pain…”
This happens on standard desk phones.  Well, now that mobile technology has moved on to allow for handsfree kits of any reasonable usefulness, the kids are making good use of it.  Maybe we need to give them more credit, and assume that the piped garbage is not actually part of their own music collection.  Maybe it’s the hold music of the companies they’re having to call to get topups and such.  And maybe when they call on the move, they’re only doing the same as I do here in the office.