I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

The Visuals

I like the (new) view in iTunes that lets you see all your albums, akin to photos in iPhoto. albums.jpg I began listening to the first track of every album (I didn't get too far), and it was an interesting way to sample them. When you hover over each album, you can click a "Play" button to start that one off. You can also view albums according to genre, composer, and artist... and re-size them accordingly to fit more or fewer in the browser. When you view things this way, you begin to realize just how much music you have. Seeing that biberfan.org began as biberfan.com and was principally about music (not to mention creative stories), 2008 presents us with more options than ever for music. According to iTunes, I now have 1,101 albums. My favorite statistic? 43.9 days of start-to-finish playback. That's a silly number, but would work out to be 44 days x 24 hours x 60 minutes to come up with the number of minutes, right? Anyhow, that's more than a month's worth of content. I started collecting music on CD in 1990. 18 years, 63,000 some minutes. That works out to 3,520 minutes a year. In 25 years, at that same rate, I will have collected 88,000 minutes worth of music. That's roughly 2 months worth there. That's if, of course, if my musical tastes continue to develop and classical/baroque music continues to be recorded. What's interesting, I think, is the question as to whether or not we need to collect all of this data (i.e., "software) for ourselves. At some point it seems to become silly. I mean, some big server out there could hold all the recordings. When I hit "play," does it need to come from my hard drive? There were advantages to this up until recently. Subscription models are being tried now with some musical services, of course, but require a monthly rental fee. How much would you pay for access to a collection of every CD? And for how long? Let's do some basic math. Let's round down my CDs to 1000. Lots of folks who collect music have reached and surpassed this number. Let's also assume I paid $15 for each one (in some cases, this is too low, but let's just stick to some basic math). $15K for my collection. I don't own every CD, mind you (or recording), but I have about enough. Add maybe 450, and I'd have everything I'd ever want to listen to. This of course is from around 1950-present day. What about the recordings made next year? And after that? Let's say my "useful" collection grows to 2000 CDs by the time I'm done collecting, and let's say this cost me again, $15 per CD. I've spent, then $30K for my music collection. I'm 70 years old now, I've got this nice collection. If a music subscription service cost $15/month (Rhapsody is $13) (basically the cost of a single CD), I'll have 2000 months to listen for my $30K. That's roughly 133 years worth. Another way to think of it: for the price I'll have paid for my music, I could have rented it for 133 years. It seems rental might be more economical, despite not being able to "own" the music in the way I currently do with iTunes. There are ways to mess with my math and scenario here, of course. A resource like Rhapsody might prove to be more valuable by offering more than the 2000 recordings. They advertise 6 million tracks, as of this writing at Rhapsody, so... while the numbers may be in my favor, practicality may not. Are all albums equal in value? How much time do I really have to listen to a library of over 6 million tracks? How does the human brain organize and make sense of 1,000,000 or more tracks? Here's a thought: what if my collection doesn't grow any more. I already feel the number of tracks I have is too many to really listen to them all. The iTunes interface is nice because I can "see" what I have, because I'm still stuck (mentally) on this whole CD/album concept. I have a feeling our capacity to remember/like/listen has real limits. There's likely a number of "new" stuff we can take-in each month. There's a holding area for favorites... but there's likely to be a mechanism for the neglected stuff to fall-out of the system. Question: what's the most ideal system to accommodate our needs/tastes/abilities for listening? All the virtues of iTunes are likely to be implemented today on the Web... so as long as you have an Internet connection, you can have your library (any size), organize by search or visual, and maintain stats for keeping track. I think the future of music is going to get more complex. Today we have iPhones/iPods/computers/CDs to "hold" our music. What happens when our headphones connect directly to the Internet? I read the other day someone was really enjoying the random tunes via Pandora. Pandora is like your bottomless-jukebox playing tracks at random. Right? Despite what I know is on the horizon, I kind of like the idea of owning my music. I like having rows and rows of silver-colored platters in plastic holders (CDs) stored in the back room. I like my iTunes. Despite the expense and hassle, I like keeping track of my own music media. How long will it last?

BWV 1044

La Pantomime