Look, by now you probably have an opinion on Apple murdering, in cold blood, the trusty, always reliable (till you drop your phone on a beach) headphone jack. Yes, you will almost certainly lose your “airbuds.” Yes, it’s supremely stupid that the private listening on your phone will now be relegated to Bluetooth technology, which can be finicky, and way less reliable than just plugging a cord into a hole.
But that’s not why I’m here. The real thing Apple is killing, the side victim to their ruthless, rage-filled attack on headphone jacks is the aux cord. And the aux cord being no longer viable is going to kill the last unpredictable communal listening experience we had as people. From now on, we will huddle around bluetooth speakers and be expected to pair our phone with every bluetooth listening device we come across, on the vague hope that someone will “pass the blu” or something even worse I can’t bring myself to type.
But the aux cord, the aux cord represented the multitude, the unknown. You could have a party, pass someone the aux cord, and have no idea what was coming next. You never knew if someone was going to drop a Travis Tritt or a Travis Scott song. You never knew if someone was going to go to YouTube to play some unreleased Mr. Muthafuckin’ Exquire, or head to their private stock of Reba McEntire jams in their personal iTunes. I know you’re thinking “this is possible just by letting someone control Spotify at the party” but that’s not right. The possibilities were even more endless with the aux cord involved. The only limit to an aux cord DJ set was LTE speed, ad blocker, and being able to find relevant songs.
And sure, Apple is throwing a bone by including yet another dongle, one that will allow you to turn your power jack into a headphone jack. But what are the odds that that adapter lasts longer than 5 uses for anyone? What are the odds that your trifling sister--whose apartment speaker you’re always tasked with taking over--will have that dongle on deck? The aux cord was cheap, and it was always around. I bet no one under 30 doesn’t have at least one in a drawer somewhere.
So, I say, pour one out for the aux cord. Say goodbye to parties with endless soundtrack possibilities, say goodbye to the phrase “pass the aux,” and say goodbye to the version of yourself that knew exactly where to cop an emergency aux cord at the Walgreens. Good night, sweet prince.
I leave you with the wise words of Jeff Weiss:
RIP to the aux cord. the gods have stolen 🔥 back for themselves.
— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) September 7, 2016
Andrew Winistorfer is VMP’s Classics & Country Director, and a writer and editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need In Your Collection and The Best Record Stores In The United States. He’s written Listening Notes for more than 20 VMP releases, and co-produced the VMP Anthologies The Story of Philadelphia International Records, The Story of Quincy Jones, The Story of Impulse and the VMP Classics release of Nat Turner Rebellion's Laugh to Keep From Crying, and executive produced the VMP Anthology The Story of Vanguard. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
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