My mission, which I spoke of in an earlier blog entry under the music heading, is within 30 discs of being complete – my entire music CD collection is now on my hard drive, with the exception of my Beatles CDs. (I’ve been doing this by pulling a handful of 6-CD changer magazines off the shelf at a time, and I’ve closed in on the Fab Four from both sides of the alphabet.) To say that this has proven to be not just labor-intensive (and CPU-time intensive) but an organizational challenge as well would pretty much sum it up. I’ve got 80 gigabytes of music ripped at 160Kbps…how does one organize that much stuff when it’s all discrete tracks?
The structure I’ve settled on pretty much drops the music into one of these directories: 50s and before, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, Soundtracks, Comedy, Game Music; each of those is then divided up alphabetically. There are also individual directories for several “go-to” favorites which are my musical comfort food – ELO, Alan Parsons, the Finn family tree (Split Enz, Crowded House, and the various solo and side projects emerging from those groups’ history), Star Wars music, Star Trek music, Doctor Who music, Peter Gabriel…there are probably about 20 of these “specialized” directories that fall outside the decade/category structure.
I tried to build a Winamp playlist of everything on the drive, just to see how long it would take for me to listen to my entire collection, from start to finish. Winamp froze up while trying to add up the length of the list.
But I thought it’d be fun just to total up some of those specialized directories. Let’s see what I have the most of to listen to. (This doesn’t really reflect how much of it I actually listen to on a frequent basis, just how much of it I’ve got on CD somewhere.) It’s not fair to compare the volume of music from a TV series (which may have tons of releases reflecting year after year of new music) to more mainstream stuff where someone’s touring, so I’ve divided things up that way. Here’s the countdown:
Afro Celt Sound System – 5 hours, 29 minutes
Jason Falkner (no Jellyfish) – 5 hours, 41 minutes
Art Of Noise – 6 hours, 29 minutes
Ben Folds / Ben Folds Five – 7 hours, 52 minutes
Depeche Mode – 9 hours, 11 minutes
Peter Gabriel (no Genesis) – 10 hours, 8 minutes
ELO, related artists & tributes – 11 hours even
Tori Amos – 13 hours, 14 minutes
Alan Parsons & related projects – 15 hours, 27 minutes
Finn family tree, related artists & tributes – 32 hours, 23 minutes
Star Wars soundtracks – 14 hours even
Babylon 5 soundtracks – 18 hours, 42 minutes
Star Trek soundtracks – 19 hours, 32 minutes
Doctor Who – 33 hours, 42 minutes
If some of these totals seem impossibly huge, I also tend to throw spinoff and remix stuff into the same directory as the artist or the property being remixed. (The Star Wars directory includes Meco, Shadows Of The Empire, and Christmas In The Stars, for example, and most of the soundtrack directories also include any original music for games based on that series. Frighteningly enough, the B5, Trek and Who directories include subdirectories for music by cast members, such as the solo musical escapades of Mssrs. Shatner, Mumy & Pertwee, which I did not count in these totals.)
All four of those major soundtrack directories crammed into the same playlist totalled 86 hours and 23 minutes. As a side note, there’s plenty of Star Trek music – and good Star Trek music, at that – waiting to see the official light of day. But the simple fact is that more Doctor Who music has been released. What’s even scarier than that is that, after about half an hour of crunching to come up with the number, Winamp says that the total running time of every soundtrack – movie, TV or game – is over 230 hours (5,671 tracks).
If the formula for royalties, performance rights fees, internet radio and podcasting ever gets simplified into a workable form that doesn’t look like the combination of a quadratic equation and a potato that’s exploded in the microwave, then somewhere in here lies the ingredients for one really freakin’ weird internet radio station. If not several.
In the meantime, I’m apparently going to need a iPod approximately the size of a box of printer paper. Hey, while we’re at it, they have these new video iPods. I’ve been thinking…if that thing people listen to has been called an iPod for years, wouldn’t it have made as much sense to call the thing that people will be watching an earPod?