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  • Playing the Angel

    • 8 out of 10
    • Depeche Mode
    • Oddly enough, Playing The Angel is a return to form for Depeche Mode, even though it may well be argued that they never truly deviated from their roots in their more recent offerings. In the

  • Modern Lovers

    • 10 out of 10
    • Modern Lovers
    • This timeless masterpiece is little known, but it has inspired almost as many bands as The Modern Lovers' own inspiration -- and only slightly better known -- The Velvet Underground & Nico.

  • Pretty Hate Machine

    • 8 out of 10
    • Nine Inch Nails
    • For years I wanted to make music that sounded like something between Love and Rockets and Ministry. In 1989, Trent Reznor beat me to it with this genre-defining album, and it smacked me upside the hea
  • Hello

    • 8 out of 10
    • Poe
    • Poe rocked my world with "Angry Johnny" (I want to kill you/I want to blow you/Away) and "Trigger Happy Jack" (Trigger Happy Jack/ You're gonna blow/But I'm gonna get off/Before you go), as powe

  • Machine Gun Etiquette

    • 8 out of 10
    • The Damned
    • Punk rock is mostly associated with three chords and a bad attitude, but the Damned were one of the few bands of the era bent on bringing musicianship and a good sense of humor to the scene. And while

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Research Firm Names iPod the Year’s Top Brand - UPDATED

Research firm Penn, Schoen & Berland, along with branding and design consultancy Landor Associates, on Thursday released the results of the 2005 ImagePower Newsmaker Brands Survey. Apple's iPod was named at the top of the list of brand winners during the past year.

Of iPod and Google, which was number two this year and is projected to come in first next year, the study said that both brands top many lists "because of the consistency in which they deliver their brand promises of simple, innovative technology."

Writing specifically about Apple's runaway success, the study's authors said: "iPod has yet to disappoint its customers, so 2006 is sure to be a year of surprises as they introduce new models or exclusive deals for streaming video." The survey predicts the iPod will be number five on next year's list, however.

The Reason Behind the Prediction

To find out why the iPod is expected to drop next year, The iPod Observer contacted Landor Associates' Allen Adamson, who said that the 2006 predictions were also based on survey answers. Asked why he thought consumers responded that way, he replied: "The early adopters already have two or three of them, so the market saturation is getting to the point where everyone who wanted one has it. The pent-up demand has been fulfilled, so the energy and heat has diminished somewhat."

Mr. Adamson pointed out, however, that the 2006 list "is not a predictor of any serious consequences." He didn't see any specific brands seriously challenging the iPod, noting: "There's so much noise in the technology space that it's tough to stay in the limelight." And he said that the iPod's showing next year "could change, depending on what happens on the video side."

In fact, the iPod was number four on Landor's 2004 list, and consumers at the time expected it to finish in the same spot this year. Given the fact that Apple recently implemented video playback in the iPod, along with a selection of video content on the iTunes Music Store that continues to grow, consumers may have been thinking more about the music side of the device when answering questions.

The Rest of the 2005 Lists

Rounding out the 2005 top 10 were Oprah Winfrey, eBay, the city of Las Vegas, the TV show Lost,, DVR technology, Yahoo! and the reality show Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Looking ahead to 2006, the survey's authors expect Oprah Winfrey to rise to the number two spot, followed by eBay, Las Vegas, the iPod,, Yahoo!, ABC, DVR technology and New York City.

Starting with the top spot, the brands in decline during 2005 were United Airlines, Howard Stern, Britney Spears, Blockbuster Video, Miami, Hummer, Clear Channel, the NBA, Houston and Major League Baseball. In 2006, the survey's authors expect Britney Spears to come in number one among brands losing cachet, followed by United Airlines, Howard Stern, Hummer, the TV show The Apprentice, the TV show Survivor, Blockbuster Video, Sidekick, Clear Channel and Donald Trump.

Looking at the expanded top 20 winners and losers lists in Landor's report, only one iPod competitor showed up: iRiver is number 20 on the predicted losers chart for 2006.

Penn, Schoen & Berland conducted its survey from Dec. 2 to 11, 2005, speaking with 1,744 U.S. residents age 18 or over. Respondents pointed out 61 total brands they were familiar with, and the margin of error for the whole group is plus or minus 2.3%.

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