Never Played or Are MP3s Destroying My Love of Music?

I have a smart playlist in iTunes of the above name, and it is staggering how many songs are in there. Insane. Sure, some of them are older CDs that I own that I surely played the hell out of in high school, so the iTunes play count is a poor representation of my history with those songs, but there are a lot of newer things on there.

The problem is of course caused by the very thing that makes me love digital music as I do-instant gratification. To sit here at my laptop and think, DAMN, I want to listen to that one Guided By Voices song, it will be playing within 15 seconds. Combine that with the fact that I don’t spend NEARLY the amount of time in my car I that I used to, and I don’t listen to music in the same way anymore.

Back in the pre-MP3 days, I would load the car up with CDs. In high school, I used to drive around with a minimum of 100 cds in the car, in wooden crates in the back seat, in the door pockets, center console, glove box. CDs were everywhere. It was a major auto theft waiting to happen. Not that the average thief would have much to do with local chicago punk CDs and random imported ska CDs, but nonetheless, it would have sucked for me.

But once I moved everything to MP3s and got the ubiquitous iPod (first on the block, waiting in line at the Apple Store that saturday morning for my (now) huge 5GB iPod. Still works quite well thank you.) everything changed. I hardwired a firewire plug behind the dash board, I wired the iPod into the CD Changer inputs of the Audi headunit. and built a fancy little holder for it.

And thus the instant gratification began. And the death of the album per se. I like the concept of an album, I think the order of tracks is important. But I don’t care anymore. I don’t listen to anything in order anymore. I usually have whatever I am listening to on shuffle. I am not ready to bring the album back, but I am working on listening to music as I get it, giving things a fair few times before it falls into the vast library. There have been a number of songs that I REALLY like now, but would have never found on the first pass.

So my current plan is to get everything to a play count of at the least 1. And I am seriously listening to them. I am filling the iPods off those playlists and syncing them back. I am down to ~1400 songs left. I am also trying to not add as much music at the rate I usually do. I am deleting things I don’t care about in an attempt to both clear up space and also get rid of the crap. I don’t know why I had so much Jennifer Lopez, but that is all gone now, needless to say. I am have an ‘on deck’ folder with MP3s that I will add once I listen to the album I last added.

I am getting lazy with music due to the potential floodgate that I could open at any time. I need to give more attention to what I have and digest it all versus slamming it all down. I need to rediscover my music.

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