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iPod hack puts 50 million Spotify songs in your pocket

When the iPod music player launched in 2001, Apple went with the slogan, “1,000 songs in your pocket.”

Skip forward 20 years and a brilliant bit of work by Massachusetts resident Guy Dupont puts 50 million songs in your pocket, streamable via Spotify.

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The project started when Dupont got his hands on a 17-year-old iPod after receiving it from a relative who was presumably having a Marie Kondo moment. In a YouTube video spotted by Gizmodo, the talented tech tinkerer explains how he tore the guts out of Apple’s music player so he could replace it with more modern components that enabled him to incorporate Spotify.

The new parts include a $10 Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-capable Raspberry Pi Zero W computer, a $40 display, and a $7 rechargeable battery.

The device works pretty much in the same way as the original iPod, with the click wheel allowing you to speedily select a music track — only now can choose one from Spotify’s vast library. Another difference is that instead of those tiny audible clicks that you used to hear with the wheel, the addition of a haptic motor means that the device now vibrates instead.

Some of the video (top) shows Dupont carefully putting the device together. He also talks about the three pieces of software that helped to make his creation work — two of which he wrote himself — and offers heartfelt thanks to the writer of a 10-year-old blog post that offered some crucial information that allowed him to get the click wheel to work, a breakthrough that was vital to the task’s success. “This project would not have been remotely as interesting if I couldn’t have gotten the original click wheel to work,” Dupont says in the video.

In a Hackaday article explaining the building process in more detail, Dupont says, “I had forgotten how good it feels to hold and use one of these things. Naturally, I decided to modify one. I wanted to supply some modern features (streaming, search, Bluetooth audio, etc.), while paying homage to the amazing user experience that Apple originally released almost 20 years ago.”

Dupont finishes up by noting that while his video may seem like an ad for Spotify, the best way to support artists is to buy their music instead of streaming it, and also to purchase their merchandise.

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