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Eric: Necropost: On the Culling of iTunes

(Written January 26) Recently, I underwent a Culling of iTunes.

Part of the joy of iTunes is the astoundingly simple access to music, the convenient management of your music library, the trivial capacity to download new songs, and somewhat inflexible but always cheerful organizational tools. I've used it for years now. And, as I mentioned some time ago, iTunes allows us to express our musical tastes without exposing them to the sniffs or snorts of others. If we want to enjoy ourself some Pat Benatar or "The Final Countdown," we can and we do, and it's no one's business but our own.

But there is a down side to this. Once a song enters your MP3 collection... it is generally a very cold day in Hell before it leaves it again. You begin to hoard your songs. It's as if you can't bear to lose any of them. Even if you're not interested in listening to something, you might want to listen to it someday. So your music collection grows and grows, and you begin to come up with new playlists of stuff you actually like and might want to listen to so you don't need to weed your way through a thousand songs written by ten thousand people about things you couldn't care less about to begin with.

Which is where I was. I had like forty gigs of music and another thirty gigs of video, which meant I couldn't fit my collections on either my old 20 gig iPod or my spiffy new 60 gig iPod video. It was time to Do Something About It.

Naturally, I backed stuff up to external hard drive, 'just in case,' but otherwise I was brutal. Stuff I actively liked stayed in. Stuff I had an active interest in listening to or developing an appreciation of stayed in. Other stuff went. Frank Zappa went, because even though I know he's brilliant that brilliance hasn't translated into an actual desire to listen to the songs. And if Frank Zappa went, no one was sacred.

I cut it down to about seventeen gigs of music. Most of the video made the cut (though I wiped most video podcasts, because I subscribed to them originally because I didn't have video for my Video iPod, and now I have tons of it. The complete run of Justice League Unlimited. The complete Venture Brothers. A near complete Penn and Teller: Bullshit. A disturbingly large amount of Power Rangers: SPD -- but more about SPD another time.

And now, when I drive, I just click on my library and hit shuffle, and listen. Sometimes I click to the next song because of mood, but almost everything that's on the playlist is something I actually wouldn't mind hearing. And that's cool.

As a side note, one of the miscataloged things I saved was my rip of the Hitchhiker's Guide CD sets -- the ones of the original radio shows. And because I didn't quite understand how to rip CDs of audiobooks before, it both wasn't tagged as an audiobook and was broken up into 2-5 minute chunks. And as it turns out, that makes for surprisingly fun brief bits of humor interspersed among the music. It seems weirdly intentional.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at January 12, 2007 12:23 PM


Comment from: LurkerWithout [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 29, 2007 2:36 PM

You can NOT just drop a bombshell like the Power Rangers comment and then walk away! You evil taunting monkey!

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 29, 2007 3:46 PM

Any form of the Power Rangers? Whoa, that blows my odd enjoyment of the original Kirby's Dream Land right out of the water.

Comment from: Merus [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 29, 2007 5:17 PM

I have much the same effect going on with The Areas of My Expertise - I'll be listening to some Decemberists or something, then hear about the history of the lobster in North America, and then we move on to a moody remixed version of music from Super Metroid.

Which better get on the Virtual Console soon.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 29, 2007 6:39 PM

Except for the part about the Decemberists, sounds like what would play on my computer at any given moment.

Comment from: Bequita [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 30, 2007 6:52 AM

You being a Mac user, Eric, you can get an Applescript from www.dougscripts.com/itunes/ that will convert selected AAC tracks into the designated 'audiobook' .m4b files.

Given that I had about 10 gigs of audiobooks (many of them of my dad read to my siblings and myself (he read onto tapes and later dumped them into mp3s)) 10 gigs of audiobooks BEFORE iTunes had any audiobook designation at all, well, it's a very useful script.

The one to look for is called 'Make Bookmarkable'.

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