Breakdown of my iTunes library

Tonight I reached 7500 tracks in my iTunes library. A far cry from my husband’s 15,600 tracks (he’s got more CDs and Creative Commons tracks than I do), but that’s still 20.5 days of non-stop listening. For years we were only buying CDs, but 2009 was the year where we went mostly digital after iTunes went DRM-free. For us, that was the key to move to digital. I started collecting free promo mp3s sporadically back in 2006, but it was in 2009 when their numbers exploded in my iTunes library. In fact, I’ve noticed that especially after 2007, there’s a stream of freeware promo mp3s out there that gets bigger and bigger every year. Some indie artists give 1/3 of their album for free these days (e.g. Cold Cave)! Anyways, here’s the breakdown:

7500 tracks, 44.5 GB on disk, 20.5 days

2000 were bought from iTunes in 2009-2010 (we spent a fortune!)
300 were bought from Amazon in 2010
3700 are freeware, legal promotional mp3s or Creative Commons
1500 tracks were ripped from some of our bought CDs

2430 tracks were released in 2009
4000 were released in 2008-2009

5150 are tagged as “Alternative”
1180 are tagged as “Rock”

Only about 20%-30% of the tracks are from artists signed to major labels.

4150 tracks are starred so far:
660 tracks have 5 stars
1300 tracks have 4 stars
1635 tracks have 3 stars

Most played tracks:
1. “The Keys” by Dolorata
2. “Gold for Bread” by Blitzen Trapper
3. “The Tornado Lessons” by Cloud Cult
4. “Heads will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
5. “Sci-Fi Kid” by Blitzen Trapper

Most tracks by the same artist:
1. Madonna (190)
2. Depeche Mode (113)
3. Blitzen Trapper (68)
4. Portugal. The Man (62)
5. Coldplay (53)

Oldest track added in iTunes library:
New Years” by Asobi Seksu: 10/17/2006 11:08 PM
Newest track added:
Vapor Trail” by The West Exit: 1/15/2010 12:43 AM

Shortest track:
“Foreword” by Linkin Park: 14 seconds
Longest track:
“Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” by Iron Maiden: 13:35 minutes

Lowest Bitrate:
Induction” by Broken Spindles: 32 kbps
Highest Bitrate:
Various at 320 kbps (mp3)

I was reading an article at OSNews and tried to answer the “is there profit in a world of file sharing” question (in my case legal promo mp3s, since I don’t pirate media). So I went back to my “Purchased” section of iTunes, and checked it out. I found that from the ~2000 iTunes tracks I bought:

1. 900 tracks were bought (just in 2009) because I discovered these bands via their promo mp3s in the last TWO years of collecting legal promo mp3s.

2. 350 tracks were bought after discovering the bands due to word of mouth (e.g. from friends on Twitter or IM).

3. 750 tracks were bought from bands I got to know by traditional media, e.g. TV/radio, over my LIFETIME. However, about 300 of these tracks are purchases made FOR my husband, and are not the kind of music I’d normally buy (while the numbers above are all for music bought for my own music taste). So this leaves the “traditional PR” artists with just 400 bought tracks.

So within a single year of starting buying digital music, I bought 900 tracks from bands I discovered just in the last 2 years. And only 400 tracks were bought for bands that I’ve known for many years via traditional means. I’d say that promotional, viral, mp3s work best for heavy internet users, way more than radio/TV promotion.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on January 15th, 2010 at 2:17 AM PST:

There’s one CD I can’t find to rip. We bought it a few years ago, but we haven’t seen it around in our home for over a year. It’s a Nickelback CD.

Let me just say that I don’t really miss it. 😉

Erik wrote on January 15th, 2010 at 8:53 AM PST:

You win for having so much Depeche Mode.

notmelbrooks wrote on January 15th, 2010 at 10:23 AM PST:

Wow, Thats really interesting. I thought this was going to be an article about how your Itunes library had a ‘breakdown’ and, how you ingeniously fixed it.

ojimenez wrote on January 15th, 2010 at 10:19 PM PST:

The books people read and the music they listen to (and to some degree the movies they watch ) can be barometers of an individual’s personality.

Interesting personalities are an inspiring source for new music and authors. In fact, I often ask the persons who intrigue me to make lists of their favorite books and music. A reporter I once met didn’t just write a list of favorite books, we went together to a used book store and I bought a huge selection, which I still have in m library.

In another occasion, I gave my blank Ipod to a fascinating woman, who went to post-Katrina New Orleans to teach kids, and she filled it with her favorite tunes. The pod remains intact as she filled it… I love it!


Jani wrote on January 16th, 2010 at 9:34 AM PST:

Ever thought you spend a bit too much on music..? I mean, when do you have time to listen to all those tracks!? Sure, I have lots of cds, collected over the years… but I only spend maybe 100-200 euros per year on them and I don’t buy mp3s. I insist on getting a physical item for my money… anyway, right now I seem to have 508 tracks stored on my phone/mp3-player.

Well, while I’m here I might plug a local band from my country – that’s Finland btw – in case you don’t mind not understanding the vocals… I was just listening their album, I have no other connection with them… 🙂

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Eugenia wrote on January 16th, 2010 at 1:38 PM PST:

>Ever thought you spend a bit too much on music..?

Yes. However, in 2009 we bought mostly the tracks we always wanted to have acquired during the past years, but we didn’t want their whole albums. So when we went digital and were able to get access to individual songs, we went for them. So I expect 2010 to not be more than $300-$400.

zima wrote on January 16th, 2010 at 2:59 PM PST:

So, I take it that iTunes is quite tolerable as an application (even PC one) for some time? Can’t imagine you using it otherwise 😉

(in all seriousness – while not having nowhere near so vast music collection, it gets rather big, too; basic methods of managing it becoming too troublesome, so I’m wondering on what to settle)

ojimenez, that what is for nowadays 😉

Jani, sleep listening is one of the solutions, and quite fun one at that ;p (though usually only small selection of songs is useful)

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on January 16th, 2010 at 5:42 PM PST:

Yes, iTunes is great. It has 1-2 things that I dislike, and 1 missing feature, but overall, is way ahead than its competition.

Matt Parsons wrote on January 19th, 2010 at 8:06 AM PST:

Hmmm… Turns out I have 229 items in my iTunes by Depeche Mode… making them the single largest artist in the database… followed by Blur…

Yanni wrote on January 22nd, 2010 at 8:51 AM PST:

Not to brag (well, actually to brag) I have 12883 songs for 35.4 days and 49.06 GB and I’d say downloads and CC stuff only account for maybe 2%. There were years that I bought at least one cd a week.

For those that think it’s too much ~ it’s not. Just make some playlists for different kinds of moods. I really like using the genius mixes too. It makes it fun to discover songs you’ve forgotten about or never paid attention to. It’s funny how tastes change over years.

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