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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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.