A month of music: listening to my entire iTunes music library in order.

Back on the 8th of April I decided to listen to some music. I couldn’t decide exactly what. Normally I listen to albums at a time, or just choose random play. This time I clicked the “sort music by track title: descending” option in iTunes. I thought to myself:

“Why not listen to my entire iTunes music library, sorted by track name, and see how long it takes?”

So I did. I only have about 10gb of music on my laptop, which works out at 8 days and 14 hours of music. Some of those tracks are podcasts I downloaded directly without subscribing, so I estimate a rounded off 8 days worth of music.

Every time I worked at my computer and needed music, I resisted listening album by album, as I normally do, and selected the next song on the list. I finished the project in the early hours of this morning. As the last track finished (2007 by Tom Pritchard, iTunes sorts numbers after letters), nothing else played, and for some reason I felt like I’d achieved something. Nothing great, I understand, but there’s a sense of accomplishment even with the simplest tasks.

I did learn some things:
– Lots of tracks had incorrect names. I fixed most of these as I went through.
– I had duplicates of many tracks, under different names. I deleted a LOT of duplicates.
– I have a few albums I can’t stand. I’m not even sure why I ripped those CDs to my laptop. I deleted most of them.
– With some albums, there are individual tracks that really annoy me. I didn’t delete these, so as not to be left with incomplete albums, but I did un-tick them.
– I found loads of music that I forgot I had.
– I remembered why I love lots of bands.
– I realized that, while I don’t have a huge music library, my tastes are quite varied. This means I always have music for any mood.
– During the last month I added a few new albums. I think I might have missed some of these tracks. But I did listen to those albums in full a few times, so I think I can get away with it.
– Seven or eight albums have no track names, just “Track 01″, “Track 02″, etc. This is because I wasn’t internet connected when ripping the CD. It’s fun to listen to groups of album this way, all track ones, then all track twos, as sorted by artist name.

Also, away from the playlist:
– I’m not very good at writing fiction to music with lyrics.
– I knew this already, as I have the same problem with any non-internet/email writing.
– That’s why I usually listen to the same album over and over and over again when writing. The album is DJ SS presents: Jazz & Bass Session 2, and when I sort my iTunes library by play count it’s way out in front. As the name suggests, the album is drum and bass, which means the fast tempo keeps me awake and my fingers moving. The lack of vocals is key, as I just mentioned. The sounds aren’t overly electronic, mostly based around live recordings of piano, bass and saxophone. It is a double album, about 2hours 20 minutes, and that length normally fits perfectly with the word count I want to bash out on any given day.

A fun project! I think I’ll now do it again, but sort by track length. I’ll start with the longest tracks, and end up with the shortest. The first track will be “Tchaikovsky – Peter and the Wolf” and the second will be the undeniably awesome “The Most Unwanted Song“. The final track will be “Queen Mab Interlude” from the Romeo and Juliet Soundtrack Album. Hopefully the building pace will make me faster and faster at… well, at whatever I’m doing while listening to the music.

I’ll post my observations in another month.