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Most of the Mormons we know aren't terribly fond of the sauce, but someone needs to buy Dell CEO Kevin Rollins a beer before it's too late.

Rollins recently dubbed Apple's iPod a "fad," and he may well miss out on the iParty if he doesn't get down to the iBar quick. Pubs and clubs around the globe have started holding iPod nights where customers can bring in their devices, plug into the house music system and DJ for a period of time. One such iParty will take place this Saturday at the Progress Bar in London.

"Playlist invites all music lovers and makers, dancers, beatmixers, mash-up artists and wannabe superstar DJs to come along and get 15 minutes to play your top tunes to the Playlist Party People," says the invite.

Sure, there is an enormous "ifad" quality to the whole iPod bar scene. Patrons and bar owners alike stick an "i" in front of anything they can. Chicago's Tonic Room has iTuesdays, APT in New York has an iParty and even Microsoft has an iBore. Trendy turns into hankey pretty quick when bars all start offering the same, geek festival.

But calling the iPod a fad is like calling the Walkman a fad. Apple, like Sony, managed to nail a new market with the best device at the right time. iPod clones will erode Apple's market share over time, but that doesn't make the iPod a fad any more than it makes IBM's original PC a fad. (And if the iPod is indeed a fad then the Dell DJ is what? A desperate, failed fad hopeful? Who wants an iDud?)

The point here is that the iPod is breaking permanent ground, and Rollins is either in denial or out of touch.

You can expect to see more and more bars open up their music systems to patrons with iPods and all kinds of MP3 players. Each customer will get anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to play their tunes and impress the crowd. Music will serve as a way for kicking off new conversations and will open doors to new romances. You see a fine piece of meat plug in an iPod and pump out a long lost Radiohead concert track. You walk over and start chatting.

A discouraging iDork Blogging aspect hovers around this concept. Each person, playing their own music - trying to prove how unique they are. In action, however, iPod nights seem to work pretty well and provide a nice respite from the same old, same old on the jukebox.

iPod nights actually started almost the minute the device hit the streets, as reported by the observant Leander Kahney way back in 2002. Since then, the mainstream media has picked up on the trend - make that fad.

"It's interesting the iPod has been out for three years and it's only this past year it's become a raging success," Rollins said in his now infamous interview. "Well, those things that become fads rage, and then they drop off. When I was growing up there was a product made by Sony called the Sony Walkman - a rage, everyone had to have one. Well, you don't hear about the Walkman anymore."

Er, that's because people moved to the Discman. You don't hear a lot about the VCR now either. That doesn't mean people don't buy DVD players.

So, someone get Mr Rollins down to The Library, put an ice tea in his hand and get him talking to the kids. Along with cars and stereo systems, entire nights are being dedicated to the iPod. It's not going away. ®

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