Rediscovering Music with iTunes

In Tech and Internet by Daniel M. Clark0 Comments

I've been a music junkie for a long time. It started pretty much as soon as my parents started giving me an allowance. I'd save up ten or twenty bucks, and then go to the bowling alley with my friends. Instead of bowling though, I'd go to the record shop next door and buy two or three cassettes. When I was old enough to get a job, a lot of the money I made went into buying music. These days, I've got thousands upon thousands of songs on my computer, all organized neatly by iTunes. Between music I've ripped and music I've bought online, my digital library is quite large.

iTunes makes is really easy to create playlists. When I first bought my Mac in late 2006 and got all my CD's imported, I went through and put a 5-star rating on whatever songs I felt like listening to, several hundred of them. That's pretty much how I organize my everyday listening, but it's a pretty small percentage of my total library. Today, I had an idea. My plan is to spend a week listening to songs that have never been played on this computer – and since I don't bother dragging out my CD's anymore, that pretty much means songs I haven't heard in almost two years or more.

I created a “smart playlist” in iTunes with the condition that the Play Count is less than one. Then, I turned on Shuffle and hit play. So far, I've heard some songs I remember, some that are vaguely familiar, and some songs I've never heard (because of those fantastic one-hit-wonder artists whose entire CD I bought before online purchasing of one song was available). It's fantastic. Right now I'm listening to Billy Idol's “Dancing with Myself”, which I probably haven't heard since I was in high school. Right before that was “Left of the Middle”, by Natalie Imbruglia, which I've never even heard before because I bought that CD specifically for the “Torn” single years ago. One pretty cool aspect of using a smart playlist is that once a song has played through, its play count goes to one, and it's removed from the list. I'm guaranteed to hear nothing but tracks that haven't been played on my Mac before.

The list also introduces me to new artists because I imported all of my wife's CD's as well. Songs from artists like Authority Zero and Muse are getting a listen for the very first time, because I just never really gave them a shot before. Some of it I like, some of it I don't – but isn't that what music exploration is all about? Between this and Pandora.com, I'm having a lot of fun.

This should be a very interesting week.

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