Challenging myself to listen to every song I own

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by AlanDistro, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. AlanDistro

    AlanDistro Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Sandy, OR
    ...and I'm half way there!!

    This has been a really fun on-going project. Over the last two years I've been working on listening to every single song I own. Albums, singles, box sets, Deluxe Edition bonus tracks, EPs, digital-only store exclusives, concerts on CD, etc etc.

    Of course, most of these titles got played a lot when I first bought them, but others are purchased and sat around and didn't get much love. So I decided to start fresh and hear everything at least once.

    And not just as background music, but listening and focusing on the music. In fact, I've been rating every single song as I go (I then add a metadata tag when I've heard and rated that title so I can easily sort out heard/unheard titles).

    I'm exactly half way through as of today! I've attentively listened to 1,675 titles and have 1,675 titles to go.


    Because I'm listening in JRiver and make extensive use of tags and categories, let's look at some numbers!

    How many songs have I heard so far?
    17,601 songs totaling 53.2 days of uninterrupted listening (took me about 700 days, or roughly two hours per day on average)

    What do I mean by 1,675 titles?
    I consider any individual release a title. Whether it's an album, single, EP, or box set... it's one title. So let's look at a break down of titles...

    897 Albums (includes box sets but I should go through and tag those separately)
    490 Singles/EPs (the line is so thin I just lumped singles, maxi-singles, and EPs together)
    79 Concert Albums (MTV Unplugged, Live at the..., you get the idea)
    76 Greatest Hits Comps
    75 Album Bonus Discs (for example, the second disc in a 2-disc Deluxe Edition, I break these out from the main album)
    25 Soundtracks (usually for exclusive non-album tracks)
    18 Remix Albums (The Cure's Mixed Up, NIN's Further Down the Spiral, etc)
    12 Various Artists Comps (Hard to Find 45s on CD, MTV Party to Go...)
    11 Bootlegs (not a big bootleg guy, but I have a couple, these are all concerts and are also counted in the Concert Albums above)
    3 Tribute Albums (Nativity in Black, For the Masses...)

    Am I a vinyl or CD or download guy?
    Overwhelmingly CD...

    CD - 1,322 titles - 14,842 songs (every single one ripped by me in dbPoweramp with AccurateRip)
    Download - 285 titles - 2,242 songs (mostly hi-res from HDTracks/Pono/7digital, etc, only 140 Lossy songs (or less than 1% of all songs), usually iTunes or AmazonMP3 store exclusives)
    BluRay Pure Audio/DVD-A/SACD - 39 titles - 441 songs (ripped by me)
    Vinyl - 11 titles - 26 songs (needledropped by Deep Sky Audio, awesome service, these are all 7" and 12" singles that have not been released on CD/digital yet)
    Cassette - 3 titles - 50 songs (I indexed the Radiohead OKNOTOK cassette, so that throws off the average song count here)

    Most owned artists?
    None of these discographies are complete yet, but ranked by total number of hours of each artist owned...
    Pink Floyd - 74 titles - 841 songs - 67.2 hours of music - 25.1 GBs of data
    The Smashing Pumpkins - 49 titles - 628 songs - 44.8 hours of music - 19.7 GBs of data
    Tori Amos - 58 titles - 555 songs - 40.5 hours of music - 13.2 GBs of data (no hi-res here cuts down on data)
    Prince - 44 titles - 502 songs - 40.0 hours of music - 20.0 GBs of data
    David Bowie - 40 titles - 484 songs - 35.1 hours of music - 13.5 GBs of data (just started getting into Bowie over the last month, but bought both of the recent box sets, a bunch of CD singles, and a few individual albums, really loving the vast majority of it! why did I wait so long on Bowie?!)

    Honorable mention here (based on the most played time overall):
    Michael Jackson - 46 titles (many CD single variations during Dangerous and HIStory) - 362 songs - 30.7 hours of music - 13.5 GBs of data


    So that's it for now, I have a ton of other stats, including releases per year, genre, special collections like MoFi and Audio Fidelity releases, etc etc, but this is already too long. I wanted to record these numbers so I can come back when I finish and update/compare. Of course I'm only half way at this exact moment, that'll change the next time I check the mail box, I have a dozen pre-orders in for new stuff being released this year, and I'm still picking up used discs like they're going out of style.

    Have you heard every song in your collection? If not, do you have any desire to?
    DesertHermit, Moon1, deany76 and 22 others like this.
  2. Crispy Rob

    Crispy Rob Cat Juggler

    Oakland, CA
    About 15 years ago, I decided to listen to every track I owned in alphabetical order. It took me 2-3 years, but at that point I didn't include vinyl (my collection was still in storage on the opposite coast) and I've probably more than doubled my CD collection since then... it was fun and I similarly rated the songs as I went (useful for Smart Playlists and the like), but was definitely not something I'd undertake again. I still use playlists to rotate songs on and off my iPod so my entire digital collection ripped from CD or downloaded theoreticallycyles through it over time. At home I mainly listen to full albums though.
    deany76 and AlanDistro like this.
  3. Jeff Kent

    Jeff Kent Forum Resident

    Mt. Kisco, NY
    deany76 likes this.
  4. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Good luck Alan, and have fun!
    I don't don't think I could do it. I have a couple Leaetherstrip albums I'm not sure I could make through anymore :laugh:
    deany76 and AlanDistro like this.
  5. AlanDistro

    AlanDistro Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Sandy, OR
    Yeah there have been a couple CDs from college that were a little struggle to get through, but others that I was excited to rediscover and find that they held up really well, so it's a mixed bag with some of that stuff. :)
    c-eling likes this.
  6. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Admirable! I wouldn't be able to do this - not because of the volume of my collection (less than half the size of yours), but because there are three songs I despise so much I'll never voluntarily listen to them again (one of them induces vomiting - incidentally, it's by my fourth-favorite band overall, and judging by your statistics, your favorite!). I do have a bad habit of buying new and listening to old.

    I have at various points in the past tried setting up an album review site. The point of it was something similar - listen to and absorb all my albums - but I would only ever get through my all-time favorites and the stuff I loved at that moment before losing interest (or having my account deleted for literally no given reason... I hate you, Google). Also, my reviews all seemed faceless and overly defensive for no reason (my review of The Who By Numbers was spent mostly blaming other people for not liking "How Many Friends", for instance). I'd like to start again, with a more personal what-do-I-think approach and ignore the history altogether, but unfortunately that's just my natural writing style and it's hard to break out of that. Maybe I just think too much. I should start up again.

    I can see listening to every single song for the artists I'm actively trying to collect every single song for - Waterboys, Animals, Church, Black Keys, a few others - but I'm not sure I'd be able to pull off every single song I own. Too many crappy Sparks extended dance remixes of songs I hated to begin with, haha. Although I do genuinely enjoy Metal Machine Music (to an extent - I have listened to the whole thing four times in my life, but for obvious reasons I'm not sure I could rate it higher than a 6/10).
    Veni Vidi Vici and AlanDistro like this.
  7. altaeria

    altaeria Forum Resident

    Remember back around 1996 or so
    when people would joke about reaching the end of the internet.

    This kinda reminded me of that.
    Bingo Bongo likes this.
  8. Ken E.

    Ken E. Forum Resident

    New Providence NJ
    I am cataloging my LPs for my daughter and have avoided repeating any album for about 2 years now. IIRC I have about 800 on the spreadsheet which leaves about 1500 and counting to go.
    ispace, Zeki and AlanDistro like this.
  9. ermylaw

    ermylaw Forum Resident

    Kansas City
    Very interesting and fun challenge you've given yourself with this.

    I know what you mean about CDs from college. I just shelved my CDs for the first time in a while and there were a couple that I had to take off the shelf and put in a box out of a healthy sense of shame and embarrassment (I'm talking about you hed p.e.)! :laugh:
    AlanDistro likes this.
  10. Veni Vidi Vici

    Veni Vidi Vici Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    Interesting approach - systematic yet avoiding getting stuck in a rut of listening too long to any one artist. Plus you get to closely compare cover songs - I like it!

    I too would like to listen to all my tracks - I am (almost) ashamed to admit that my reach has exceeded my grasp considerably, and I have an awful lot of discs I've never heard. Too much thinking about music and not enough plain enjoying it. I've thought about listening to my collection by release date (release year actually, as iTunes only supports that). This would allow me to experience the music as it unfolded historically, which would offer some interesting insights into how things were progressed and reacted to...
    ispace and Crispy Rob like this.
  11. chrisblower

    chrisblower Forum Resident

    Tough one - enjoy ... if like me you have a lot of unread books too ... you could kill two birds with one stone ...
    ispace likes this.
  12. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo No music, no Life

    Crazy idea... :edthumbs:
    AlanDistro likes this.
  13. Gaslight

    Gaslight Drake Dweller

    Northeast USA
    To answer the "have you heard them all?" question....probably at least 90 to 95% were heard at least once. Only exceptions would be those buys I got on the cheap and in bulk. but they are slowly getting sold off / donated / thrown in the trash (I figure that if it's been sitting there for a few years and I have no desire to get to them, then I don't need them taking up space).

    I give you credit for your way I'd have the temperament to do it. I much prefer the state of chaos I have in place.
    AlanDistro likes this.
  14. The Bishop

    The Bishop Forum Resident

    I've thought about doing it, but never got further than that.

    And I doubt I ever will.
    Gaslight likes this.
  15. Arkay_East

    Arkay_East Forum Resident

    I plan to do this when I retire, God willing. I'm a curator though. I purge, clean, file, catalog .... maybe I'll be "done" by then lol
    AlanDistro likes this.
  16. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Tryon, NC, USA
    I did something similar in college. The collection is now way too big and my listening time way too little to do that now. I'd be hitting retirement age by the time I was done.
    AlanDistro likes this.
  17. Runicen

    Runicen Forum Resident

    More power to you for undertaking this. Tends to be my attitude to treat a music library the same as a library of books - I visit things I see on the shelf as and when the mood strikes rather than as part of a system or a sense of obligation or anything like that.

    I try to work artists who haven't had a solid listen in a while into my "audition" process at work, which usually involves listening to new (to me) music, so I suspect there's some balance in that.

    The only thing I try to control for is dead weight in the collection - i.e. things I don't listen to much if ever. Those things are taking up shelf or hard drive space something more worthy could reside in, so I try to be ruthless when it comes to titles I have to make excuses for continuing to own.
  18. John Porcellino

    John Porcellino Forum Resident

    Beloit, WI
    I've been trying to wean myself off buying new (ie new to me) music, aside from big box event releases (Dylan Bootleg Series etc). I have more than enough music to last the rest of my life, and embarrassingly much of it has gone unheard. Now that my collection is more or less settled, my plan has been to start at the beginning of the alphabet as well. Which in my case is ABBA, followed by Adam and the Ants, followed by Mose Allison. This is just the kind of obsessive, ridiculous project I could see myself really getting into.
    ispace, AlanDistro and Veni Vidi Vici like this.
  19. AlanDistro

    AlanDistro Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Sandy, OR
    Yeah release dates are important to me for all the smart playlists I rely on. If I have a Greatest Hits comp that was released in 2003, but the songs are all from the 90s, I don't want those songs showing up in my 2000s playlists, so I actually edit each individual track's release date to reflect the original single release date. This allows me to have Greatest Hits comps included in the smart playlist shuffles and to have those tracks show up in the appropriate decades. For example (the date column is at the far right)...

    Tuco, seed_drill and Veni Vidi Vici like this.
  20. Rojo

    Rojo Forum Resident

    I have listened to every album and compilation I own several times. But then, of course, the size of my collection is quite manageable (around 350 to 400 titles).
    deany76, Zeki and AlanDistro like this.
  21. Surly

    Surly Bon Viv-oh-no-he-didn't

    Los Angeles, CA
    I did something sort of like this in the past few years. I started back in 2014 by sorting iTunes (I have well over 22K songs) by "Date last played." I noticed I had a ton with no history of a play. Many of them had indeed been played in the '00s (I first started using iTunes in 2004), but when I switched from PC to Mac in 2009, I lost all my metadata in regards to plays. So, I made it a point to listen to everything in my library without any record of a play, and I finished that project about 15 months later. Then I moved on to listening to all of my highly-curated '80s playlists. Like you, I ensure the release years are correct. I have a playlist for each year of the '80s, and all songs are sorted by when the song was released. So, song 1 of my 1983 playlist is from January '83, and song 350 is from December (this allows me to hear songs "in context" - like groups of hits that were all likely played on the radio around the same time).

    Since going through all of those, I have been focusing on playing things that have gone the longest without being played. I've gone through everything that was played between 2009 and 2014; just got started on the 2015 group last month. It's been a great way to make sure I'm appreciating my whole collection, and not just constantly going back and playing the same small group of songs/albums over and over.
    ggg71, Zeki and AlanDistro like this.
  22. Crispy Rob

    Crispy Rob Cat Juggler

    Oakland, CA
    You hit the nail on the head about why I approached it the way I did. I'd also be curious to do your by year experiment, but don't see it happening any time soon. At this point I do have a ton of music I haven't listened to yet piling up - with kids and work there isn't enough free time but I keep buying stuff I know I want to pick up before I forget. Trying consciously to mix in new purchase listening along with old favorites to catch up a bit.
  23. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    New Jersey, USA
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  24. AlanDistro

    AlanDistro Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Sandy, OR
    I've come to rely more heavily on dynamic smart playlists. But those playlists are only as smart as the data they have to work with.

    So the more information I add... ratings, accurate release dates, genres, pressing info, etc... the better those playlists become. Adding that info takes a bit of time and research, so I decided to tag an album as "Researched" when I was done with ratings and in-depth tagging. I put on an album or EP and set off to wikipedia, discogs, the band's website, and sometimes past threads here, to dig up as much info about the release and the songs as I can, and enter all of that info into my metadata.

    Now I can ask JRiver to play just "my favorite New Wave tracks from the first half of the 80s", and the resulting smart playlist will be incredibly accurate and enjoyable! I couldn't do that before as a lot of those tracks weren't rated (so "my favorite" couldn't factor into it) and a lot of those tracks were on comps that were released a decade or two later (so the "first half of the 80s" couldn't factor into it) and half of those tracks were genre tagged as simply "rock" or "pop", not "New Wave", so really, the smart playlist would have been non-existent.

    And it's just a lot of fun to rediscover stuff I only listened to once or twice in passing, or not at all if it was bought in a lot with other discs or during a busy new release week. Of course, some of these albums I've heard a hundred times, but that's obviously not the case for many of them.
    Zeki, drasil, LitHum05 and 3 others like this.
  25. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo No music, no Life

    I just put the year in the title of the album . i.e.: 1966 Revolver, 1967 Sgt Pepper, 1973 Dark Side Of The Moon, 1975 Wish You were Here

    I'd show you an example but all my pics are currently in photopucket, and I'm too lazy to move them.
    deany76 likes this.

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