One of the many concerns I have with the iPod touch is its paltry 16GB of storage space. A British company has addressed this concern: all I have to do ignore a drastic loss in sound quality. Z Group’s ShrinkMyTunes is a Windows-only (for now) application that claims to half the size of MP3s by stripping away parts of the song you’re unlikely to notice. It’s like you’re re-encoding the song, only your only concern is file size. It works, says Wired, in that it functions as advertised: MP3s run through the program are approximately half their original size.
But do you want to put up with wishy-washy MP3s? I probably wouldn’t.
Testing ShrinkMyTunes with a few songs from different genres, Wired reports that the songs were induced reduced in size. Final audio quality depends on two factors: music genre and selected quality setting. The program gives you two choices, better quality or better compression: guess what they do. The genres that play nicest with ShrinkMyTunes are exactly the ones no one listens to: “To test ShrinkMyTunes on something more delicate, we fed it a Balinese gamelan performance full of space and nuance. Listening to this quieter recording, we couldn’t tell the difference between the original and the shrunken MP3, which again was about half its original size.” Exciting.
So the $40 piece of software works as advertised. But I’m pretty skittish when it comes to music compression, so the idea of re-compressing my songs just to fit a few more on the Touch, for example, is sorta a no-go. I actually might just go with the giant iPod Classic and leave this whole “but there’s not enough space” conflict to better men.