October 28, 2006 17:09 | Confession / Culture / Technology

Well stated

Lucas Gonze puts into words what most iPod/iTunes users haven't quite become aware of yet:

why you need more music

from Wired -- The Day the Music Died:

I thought at first I had misheard him.

"... library of 90,000 songs, and iTunes can't handle it." [...] I had
no idea people were amassing collections of this size.

My own paltry iTunes library runs just shy of 500 songs -- a little
over a day and a half of music -- and that includes every selection
from Pipes of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Now, I spend a lot of
time listening to music, but like most people I tend to play my
favorites a lot.

Research I have seen supports that writer's number. 500 songs is about the average.

I remember times in my life where I had a strictly limited music collection, and I kept things fresh by listening at finer and finer levels of detail. Those days should be over for most of us, though. It's important for individuals to grow their collections past the "enough" marker, whether that's 50,000 songs or even just 500, because at that point you stop listening in the old way.

The new way is to treat music more like a newspaper than a book, so
that a continuous stream of fresh content is intrinsic to the media.
If you hear a good hook somewhere, the next day you should find that
hook remixed into another song. You should never again, post 20th
century, post the era when music and manufactured goods were
synonomous, think of music as something so static that 500 songs could
encompass it.

The idea that a 500 song collection makes sense is based on a
misunderstanding of the medium. Maybe you'll only have 500 songs on
hand at any one time -- that makes sense. But which songs those are
should be a constantly rotating subset of a gigantic collection which
lives out in the cloud.

Yep. I was thinking about another facet of all this just last night as I was reminded how I haven't had time in a long time to a) get new music, b) maintain my playlists and c) update my iPod. There are now enough services which could theoretically stream me new tunes constantly, but so far they all require some acrobatics, which is annoying. Last.fm's player comes closest to what I want, but there's no way to take anything with me if I want it.

(Podcasting and radio streams have too much blah blah. Shut up already. If the price for not triggering my language centers with inane claptrap is my having to take the time to manage my own music, then I guess I may have to go that way. Just saying. ;)

In any case, it isn't a terribly high priority for me at all, hence the cost/benefit barrier not being overcome. Back to 80Gig library.

Oh and nevermind the insanity of attempting to manage so much media. Between file and metadata management, it all becomes a pile very quickly. ;)


I've noticed my 25k library slows down iTunes quite a bit. In fact one of the funniest things is that since i set iTunes to download all album art, i now find myself with half a gig of album covers!

Björk once said in an interview (late 90s on MusiquePlus!) that only one day in a year should be for listening to old music, the rest of the days should be for only new music.