Thursday, October 30, 2008

Building the Music Archive - a new history

This is (part one) of a really interesting series of articles about music collections, and technology - by Martin Belam.

When you used to talk about 'volume control' in the sense of music, it was associated with how loudly you could annoy your parents or neighbours. Nowadays it is more likely to refer to the sheer volume of digital media in your possession.

At the end of March 2007 I had 15,741 tracks in the iTunes library on my PC, of which I had played 4,084 at least once. That represents 25.9% of the titles, or just a shade over a quarter of the tracks. Meaning that, according to iTunes, I had never listened to around three-quarters of my collection.

I'd taken the time to rate 2,680 tracks. Yet, again, according to iTunes, of the tracks that I had rated, I had never played 38% of them.

Rating has become the new "volume control" for music consumption. With a library that large, rating songs allows us to narrow down what we actually want to hear, rather than what we simply want to have.

For the whole 12 part series in PDF, go here.

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