AKA “we’re going to need a bigger harddrive”
AKA “why I just deleted my entire iTunes library”
With the stroke of one key, I deleted over 10,000 songs this weekend. I was tired. Tired of listening to a random playlist and going an hour without hearing a song I really liked. Tired of missing ID tags like artist names, track numbers, proper album release dates… Tired of all this music I have no connection with.
Then, I pulled all of my old CDs out of storage.
Nine Inch Nail’s The Downward Spiral. Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes. Roger Waters’ Amused to Death. Ahhh… now these were albums. These were songs I had a connection with. I had the lyrics booklets. I had the various inserts and limited edition slip cases. I had 1,000 finger print smudges on each disc from repeated playing and traveling.
The music coming out of the speakers was the same as it was yesterday, but the listening experience had changed.
I began building towers of CDs on my office floor. One stack for albums I couldn’t wait to reimport. Another stack for albums I wanted, but could put off importing, and others still that had a few good tracks, but also a few bad ones.
I began the process of rebuilding my iTunes music library from scratch. I filled in every ID tag before importing. I corrected every song title variation that bugged me, and properly labeled all special editions, imports, bonus tracks, reissues and featured artists.
I even used the vastly overlooked “sort album” ID tag feature to input the year the album was originally released. Now, when I browse my music library, each album is listed first by the artist, and then in the order it was released, NOT alphabetical order. A small detail, but a really important one when listening to more than random singles.
For instance, this glorious collection of Tori Amos CD singles (US and UK imports)…
I also imported every track utilizing the Apple Lossless codec (ALAC). This is a little technical but, basically, when you rip CDs to mp3, you are throwing away about half of the audio signal information. So you know those horribly pixelated jpgs you sometimes see online, or the YouTube videos that were processed before 2009 where the edges are just kinda blurry on everything – yeah, that’s what you’re doing to your music when you use mp3 or other lossy compressions. Apple Lossless does just what its name says, it imports your CDs with zero loss of the original audio signal. The files are bigger, but so is the sound. =)
I then spent hours on Google Images, tracking down accurate album art for each title. So this Smashing Pumpkins CD singles box set…
Now my new music library is clean, and organized, and only filled with the good stuff. No more “Track 01”s no more “alexday_covers_ladygagaomglol.mp3”, just full, (personally) important albums that I can listen to without skipping or randomizing. And ones that I can pull the lyric booklets out for, and sing along (out of tune) to every word.
I particularly enjoyed digging in to my Pink Floyd mini LP box set again…
From here on out, if I want an album enough to spend money on it, I will buy the physical package. I know, first hand, how hard artists (and some good labels) work on the physical packaging of their releases, and I miss holding a piece of each artist in my hand as I listen to them. I will utilize the free streaming players that so many artist use, from Alex Day to… myself, on their websites to listen to the albums before making a purchasing decision. And my iTunes will again be relevant to my musical interests.
It’s been a very relaxing, enjoyable (looong) weekend. =)