Thursday, October 29, 2009

2000 and Dropping Fast

No, I'm not talking about the NASDAQ index, but rather how many songs I have to listen to in order to have heard them all.

I built a new computer last Spring and loaded my digital music collection on it - you can read a few posts about it from the June 2009 archives. I use iTunes and an iPod to listen to the music. When I migrated to the new computer, I lost all history, so I'm taking the opportunity to listen to every song once before spooling up my usual low-effort playlist. That playlist plays songs randomly but excludes songs that haven't been played in the last four months.

I started on June 14. I don't know the exact count of songs at that time because I frequently add and delete, but today, excluding podcasts and comedy albums, I have 9875 song files. Every day when I go to work, I listen to the playlist - I named it “Breaking In” - that randomly selects songs and deletes them from the list after they've been played once. As of this morning, the count remaining was 1995.

It took me 138 days to get below 2000. At that rate of usage, it will take another 35 days to get down to zero. That's December 3. After that, I'll go back to my usual low-effort playlist. I may have to adjust it a little, because if I used it today, there would be a whopping 717 songs on it that were not played in the last four months.

What will be the last song to get its first play? Well, that's anyone's guess but I know (9875-1995=) 7880 songs that it won't be. It has the highest chance of being a song by Chicago. I have 37 Chicago songs remaining. Chicago+The Beatles+Toto equals a cool hundred, or slightly more than 5% of the 1995. Adding Debbie Gibson, Kathy Mattea, The Bangles, Bob Seger and The Eagles gives us another hundred. Those eight artists have a 10% probability of performing the final song but since it's random, it could be any of the 1995 left. I'll find out on or about December 3.

For the detail oriented, the shortest song in my collection is the closing theme to “WKRP in Cincinnati,” clocking in at 28 seconds. The longest file is “Glad” & “Freedom Rider” from a live album by Traffic, at 20:59. Traffic tends to jam on their live stuff and this file is two songs joined together that really couldn't be separated. The longest single song in the collection is “Alice's Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie, clocking in at 18:09.

I haven't just been listening to the songs that have never been played. I occasionally listen to albums and sometimes by whim. The most listened to song since June 14 is “Save it for a Rainy Day” by Minneapolis' own Jayhawks, with a playcount of six. Three songs are tied at five. Two of those are due to a saxophone jag I went on last month. “How Bad Do You Want It?” by Don Henley and “Wooly Bully” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs both have great sax. Shannon Curfman's “I Don't Make Promises (I Can't Break)” rounds out the five-count tunes. I have 20 songs with a playcount of four.

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