April 24, 2004

iTunes, etc.

In 2000, for my first time living in Hamburg, I lugged my entire CD collection along with me from the States in a giant zippered case. This time, thanks to the wonders of advancing technology, I've traded the giant zippered case (which would now have to be considerably larger) for eight gigabytes of hard-disk space: before we left, I downloaded iTunes for Windows and 'burned' (or is it 'ripped'? I don't know what the cool kids call it) all the CDs onto my laptop, letting me safely leave the majority of my CDs in storage while still providing me with an endless music source at work.

iTunes automatically compiles a top-25-most-listened-to list of songs: after three months of leaving it on random play and skipping through songs I'm not interested in, I've finally created a top-25 list that's not a random mishmash and is actually representative of my tastes:

  1. The Christians and the Pagans (Dar Williams, Mortal City)
  2. Don't Worry About the Government (Talking Heads, Sand In the Vaseline)
  3. Roseville Fair (Bill Staines, The First Million Miles)
  4. Mystery Spot Polka (Brave Combo, Polkas for a Gloomy World)
  5. Denton, Texas (Brave Combo, The Process)
  6. A Better Wife (Erin McKeown, Grand)
  7. Laika (Moxy Früvous, Bargainville)
  8. Dreaming My Dreams With You (Alison Krauss, Forget About It)
  9. Southern California Wants To Be Western New York (Dar Williams, Mortal City)
  10. Arrival (Dar Williams, The Honesty Room)
  11. Saturn's Light (Deb Talan, A Bird Flies Out)
  12. A Kinder Columbus (Deb Talan, Sincerely)
  13. Infamous Angel (Iris DeMent, Infamous Angel)
  14. The Fairest Of The Seasons (Nico, Chelsea Girl)
  15. We Close Our Eyes (Oingo Boingo, Boingo Alive)
  16. Rapture (Peter Mulvey, Rapture)
  17. Question Mark (Peter Mulvey, Rapture)
  18. The Stanford Jonah (University of California Marching Band, Here's To Thee -- The Cal Band Centennial Recording, 1891-1991)
  19. Let The Mystery Be -- Live (10,000 Maniacs, Few & Far Between)
  20. Heart To Heart Talk (Asleep At The Wheel, Ride With Bob)
  21. Walk Down By The Water (Bill Staines, The First Million Miles)
  22. My Tears Are Nothing (Brave Combo, The Process)
  23. The Battle Of The 5 & Dime (Cafe Noir, Window To The Sea)
  24. The Wolf (Catie Curtis, Truth From Lies)
  25. Just Getting By (Catie Curtis, Truth From Lies)

Another feature of iTunes is that you can 'share' your music on your local network -- people using iTunes on other computers can listen to, but not copy, the songs in your local library. Since my office is full of Macheads, there are a lot of shared playlists for me to browse, and I can see what the average Hamburger is listening to. There's a lot of the predictable techno, but what always surprises me is how many of my co-workers love rap. Once I got into the car of my boss-at-the-time to drive somewhere -- he's a home-owning family man in his mid-30s, who always dresses in a crisply buttondown style, like a model for a German Land's End catalog, but when he turned the key of his BMW, out blasted the high-volume rap music.

You'd think that my iTunes library, heavy on the folk and acoustic side of things, would be completely ignored. But one day I checked to see if anyone was looking at my library, and eight people were connected! I seem to be serving some sort of unmet need. It's a shame that iTunes doesn't provide you with a way to see exactly what songs your remote listeners are listening to ...

Posted by Kevin at April 24, 2004 08:52 AM