Cleaning an (iTunes) Library

For the first time ever, I’m finding that I need to organize my iTunes library. For the longest time merely having a couple of play lists varying by activity, genre, mood and sheer awesomeness was sufficient. Then I began needing to set some songs, particularly musicals, to not play while shuffling. Fine. Basic stuff.

But I’m about to run up against the 16 GB limit on my iPod touch. I never imagined this happening. My imagination was limited because I thought songs were from three to five minutes each and that an iTouch could hold around 3500 of them. I’m not a big movie watcher- the videos on my iPod are primarily lectures from schools like Yale and MIT that make online courses available to the public. These get deleted as I watch them and are thus not a long term factor.

Of course, then I downloaded a collection of Karajan conducted Symphonies. That pushed the average ‘song’ length on my iPod to over ten minutes, or thereabouts. Then there are other classical pieces that are anywhere from half an hour to over an hour long. The other thing about classical music is that there is so much of it. There are currently 1800 odd ‘songs’ in my iTunes library, but my iPod can’t take much more. Certainly not another collection of over 30 CD’s.

So here’s the question: how do I systematically go about removing songs from my iPod and/or iTunes library? With so much music it is difficult to recall “You know, I never liked that Fallout Boy/Panic at the Disco song with the long irrelevant name all that much” or “Beethoven’s Second simply lacks the energy of the Fifth and the Ninth, I don’t think it makes the cut.”

To complicate things, new music is being added all the time. My most recent addition is the soundtrack for Alice in Wonderland, which I’ve already listened to several times over despite not having seen the movie yet. It has about five reprises on the main theme. Do I cut them all out of hand? Do I spend the time to carefully decide which one is the best? There’s always the “don’t cut up the album” argument. I highly recommend the album, by the way, but if you only get one song, definitely the first track, “Alice’s Theme.”

So, given that I’m sure there are others of you who have had this problem, I ask: how do you recommend I tackle this task?

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Auction: PRS Tremonti guitar; signed by Creed 2009

Rothfuss: PRS Tremonti guitar; signed by Creed 2009 – eBay item 130357558479 end time Jan-15-10 07:38:48 PST.

I posted about the Worldbuilders charity raffle, run by author Patrick Rothfuss a little while back. One thing I didn’t mention is that he’s also auctioning off a few items. One of those is a Mark Tremonti Signature Guitar, signed by Creed. Frankly, I consider that to be several different kinds of awesome. If any of you would be interested in this, I’d recommend heading over to the auction. It’s starting at only $150.

Silly iTunes

When looking up Dr. Horrible on iTunes to see whether I would buy it for myself or put it on the birthday/Christmas list I realized that a number of the songs on the soundtrack were shorter than 30 seconds and being sold for $0.99. With free previews which contained the whole song.

It is possible to snag the 30 second preview of a song. I’m not sure how it works, but they show up on mp3 search engines for new songs when the full version isn’t available all the time. Why on earth would iTunes try selling those individually at all, let alone for 99 cents rather than 69 cents? On that note, while I’ve seen plenty of $1.29 songs since iTunes destandardized its pricing scheme, I have yet to see a single $0.69 song, even though they supposedly exist. If the eight second long Dr. Horrible theme song isn’t deemed to be worth less than $0.99, what could be? Donkey’s braying? Dogs barking?

There must, somewhere on iTunes, be a recording of Steve Jobs sneezing once, which is priced $0.69- the only item in the entire store at that price.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog is great, by the way, and you can watch it for free on the website. Go do so, it’s only 42 minutes long. Believe me, it’s worth it.

Free Friday: Rebirth

Sorry I missed last week, everyone. Things have been busy here in the asylum.Today I’ll show you another song I found on GarageBand via iLike. Rebirth by Spindle Cincinnatti could perhaps benefit from better recording equipment, but it’s still an awesome song. For some reason I love the lyrics without completely understanding what they mean. The line “crossed the line of dealing with my coming of age” resonates strongly with me despite the fact that if I haven’t come of age yet, I rather doubt I’m ever going to.

Also, at the gym on Thursday morning I heard a song on the loudspeakers. It sounded rather like it could be the theme to an action movie. Eventually I found a monitor which was showing the music video and started doing my lifting in front of it. The video was of cello players being slowly ambushed by a SWAT team. It was entirely instrumental, of course, but if the name of the song and artist showed on the screen it was while I was facing the other way putting away weights.

So I’m on a mission, and I want you to help me. Find the song. I don’t need the music video even. Just the song. I’ve been looking and the closest thing I’ve found was a string version of the song ‘Final Countdown’ by Europe on YouTube.

Which I have to confess is pretty awesome. I really hope the cello players have some kind of deal on bow hair though. Unless you’ve ever played a stringed instrument, you probably have no idea how much it costs to have a bow restrung. And if they do that much damage every time they rehearse too? That would add up.

If anyone finds something awesome, whether or not it’s the right piece, feel free to share it with me. 🙂

Free Friday: Something Better

Sorry that this is late (hey, it’s still Friday in my timezone, whatever WordPress thinks). Unfortunately this is going to be a tad rushed. I have something better to do- namely sleep- right now. I have a 5K tomorrow and a half-marathon (my first) the next day. Bad planning? Yes. Is that going to stop me? No. This will go down as one of my numerous ‘stupid running stunts.’

In any case, here’s a song which has been on my running playlist ever since I discovered it. It’s called ‘Something Better’ and the artist is “true story.” Modern rock, and fast paced enough for me to run to.

Download ‘Something Better.’

Free Friday: One Less Reason

We all like free stuff, right? Here are some One Less Reason MP3’s off of Garage Band. One Less Reason is a real gem among unsigned bands. In 2003 they were signed with Universal Records but then broke off due to a conflict of interests- but not before rocking the airwaves with their hit single Favorite Color. Now, as much as I’d love to give you all that MP3, the band is not currently offering it for free, and I will respect that choice. In any case, I’m sure most of you can find it yourselves, by one method or another.

Snow Angels by One Less Reason

Worthless (Dead and Breathing) by One Less Reason

Both these songs were inspired by the tragic death of the songwriter’s best friend. Details can be found on their Garage Band page.

I view One Less Reason as possibly the best hard rock band on GB, and while I won’t claim to like all of the songs this band has turned out, another good one you might want to look into is ‘Really Bad Analogy.’

Hopefully this ‘Free Friday’ thing will become a weekly event. I’m working on digging up e-books, mp3s, and anything else both free and legal that I can find. If you have anything to suggest, feel free to comment or contact me by other means.