last night, for (at least) the 100th time, i listened to the song “baby be mine” by michael jackson. i only know i’ve listened to it (at least) 100 times because of its play count on my itunes library. this is the first song in my 7500+ music library that has reached this impressive mark. and now that the 100 plateau has been reached, i’m thinking of making the play count option invisible on itunes for awhile. i don’t know what it is about them, but i am fascinated by the play counts of different tunes. i study my Top 100 Most Played constantly, and the Top 25 Most Played playlist is always something i look for right away when i get a chance to peruse someone else’s itunes (that and albums without titles or songs without artist names, and also songs that are 759 minutes long*. all signs of a disorganized library.) for some reason i absolutely love looking to see what tunes are fighting for the top ten spots in my library, and also who is making up the Top 25 and Top 50. whenever i spend a lot of time on my ipod, i am always anxious to sync it to my computer right away and see how the number of times i listened to songs will affect the play counts in my library.
for the last year or two, since i’ve really started to explore this science, i’ve done as best as i can not to let the play counts affect my music listening. i don’t listen to songs just to up their play counts. the only way (i feel) that this new “playcountology” has affected my music listening is when i’m listening to music, i always, always let the song go to completion before switching. for example, if a tune is winding down with, say, 20 seconds or so left, i don’t switch right away to the next song, i wait until the first one is totally done and then switch. that way i’m sure to keep the play counts accurate. but i don’t think i have ever listened to a song just to get its play count up. and i also haven’t been tampering with the play counts unfairly. a person could, in theory, just click a song to the end and have its play count go up, but that’s cheating. the only time i don’t really listen to the songs that are playing is when i accidentally fall asleep with music playing, which doesn’t happen very often, or when other people use my ipod/itunes, which is totally legit with me because the song is still getting played and listened to by someone.
as much as i love thumbing through my play counts however, a tiny little party of my brain keeps nagging at me and telling me that i am taking some joy or something inherent out of the music. i should listen to music not because of what its rank is in a top 100 list, but because the song touches me and makes me feel or think. i want to listen to music to get my foot tapping or my tookis moving, not cause it’s close to upsetting the Top Ten. and as much as i want to defend this love of mine by saying it hasn’t affected what i’ve listened to, for the next month, i am going ot make the play counts invisible and see what happens.
to me, this seems way drastic. i think the longest i’ve gone recently without checking play counts was a week. it was a bad week. so we’ll see if i can actually make it a month. i just want to see what happens when i try my best to forget about play counts and just listen to music with no hidden motives. here, though, is where i run into the problem. if i was truly adamant about this, i would highlight my entire library and click “reset play counts”. my brain might implode if i was ever to do that, so that’s not going to happen. just thinking about going a month without checking the play counts, i’m so excited to see how they will have changed and what will have moved where and by how much. i’m already psyched to see a new Top Ten. and to me, that sort of defeats the purpose of this whole thing, undermines the whole idea. but i’m gonna give it a go anyway.
the other issue i’m struggling with is the problem of my current Top 100 Most Played list. right now it is a “smart” playlist, designed to automatically update itself with only the top 100 songs with the highest play counts. now i can make this playlist so that it will keep updating itself, but it won’t show me the order in which the songs are arranged by play count. there will just be a big random playlist of 100 tunes that have been most played but in no specific order. is this still copping out a little? just by having this list at all? because obviously since it’s full of my favorite songs, it is the perfect thing to just click shuffle and play on my ipod, tons of great tunes all in one place. i feel like i’m unfairly favoring my current Top 100 over the rest of my music. should i get rid of this playlist all together for the next month or should i keep listening to it when i want, just forgetting the play counts? i need advise here(adam).
so there you have it. my first real experiment in playcountology. i’m excited to see how it turns out. and what great music i will be listening to. just for the record though, let me give you my current Top Ten Most Played:
1. Baby Be Mine – Michael Jackson
2. Flashing Lights – Kanye West Feat. Dwele
3. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) – Michael Jackson
4. Good Life – Kanye West Feat. T-Pain
5. Lesson Learned – Alicia Keys Feat. John Mayer
6. I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You) – John Mayer
7. Slow Dancing In A Burning Room – John Mayer
8. Until The End Of Time Ft. The Benjamin Wright Orchestra – Justin Timberlake
9. Champion – Kanye West
10. Digital Love – Daft Punk
i’m pretty proud of that Top Ten. well-rounded; seven different main artists; a genre-spanning set of songs. but who knows? in one month this whole thing could be completely different. it probably will be. get ready though, March 11 is coming soon. i’m excited already.
just think, if i could channel all this energy and thought into anything even remotely useful.
* if anybody has a song(s) in their itunes library that is 759 minutes long, it means there was an error when you were copying the information from the cd, and that file is unplayable. please, please! erase this defective file from your computer. it makes your itunes library look terrible.