Unintended Consequences: How an Album’s Name Made It Unplayable

My phone is a piece of shit. The Treo 755p was released May 14, 2007, back before the first iPhone was even a twinkle in consumers’ eyes.

After my iPod was stolen, I figured I’d play music with my phone, anticipating replacing it with a modern device and wanting to avoid a potentially redundant iPod. That hasn’t happened yet.

Anytime I tried to check out The Golden Filter’s new record, I was denied. Pocket Tunes, the preloaded music app, just couldn’t access the folder containing the mp3s.

The folder was named “The Golden Filter – Völuspà 320,” and since nothing else was inaccessible, I figured the special characters (the umlaut and grave in Völuspà) were the culprits. Renaming the folder worked, but I immediately switched my memory card with another containing the original name.

I’ve tried to listen to the record at least five times now, and the name has made it unplayable on my (admittedly ancient) device. Maybe I’d have loved it and become their loudest evangelist, or maybe it would’ve inspired me to drive my car into a swimming pool. But most bands would never consider that an exotic-looking title might make playing its album physically impossible.

I take it as a reminder that many decisions, especially related to design, have unintended consequences.