Inert Detritus The Internet's dust bunnies

13 March 2007 @ 1pm

My Ears, Plugged Into a Fire Hydrant

(How do you like them mixed metaphors?) South by South­west (SxSW) just released the 2007 bands tor­rent, a Bit­Tor­rent file with 739 MP3s from some of the artists per­form­ing at SxSW.

I run into large influx­es of music, such as this one, quite often. I also just tor­rent­ed the 2005 and 2006 SxSW tor­rents. I’m star­ing down a fire hose of music, with some 2000+ songs need­ing to be reviewed.

My music is orga­nized in three ways. First, songs that I nev­er want to lis­ten to are unchecked. Since my iPod is only 40 GB, and my library is 65, I only sync checked songs plus cer­tain playlists to the iPod. Sec­ond, I have songs labelled with “Ambi­ent” if they’re back­ground noise songs: lit­tle to no lyrics, bet­ter suit­ed for cod­ing or home­work than for dri­ving or exer­cis­ing. Third, I have playlists that pull out songs that either have a play count of 0, or haven’t been lis­tened to in X weeks or months. These are used to “re-review” songs that I’ve added but haven’t heard in a long time, and it’s anoth­er chance for me to say, “Oh, this song is great!” or “This is trash! This ought to be unchecked and forgotten!”

When I add in 2000 songs, like I will lat­er this week with the SxSW tor­rents, all my “recre­ation­al” lis­ten­ing that I do in the car, walk­ing around cam­pus, will come to a halt. Every minute of semi-aware lis­ten­ing (mind you, this does­n’t include my lis­ten­ing at work: I put on music as white noise and space out when work­ing on some­thing) is ded­i­cat­ed to review­ing these songs. I’ll put the SxSW songs into a playlist, prob­a­bly titled “SxSW Tor­rent”. Then, I’ll make a smart playlist, with the fol­low­ing rules: Is in playlist “SxSW Tor­rent”, and play count is 0, and only include checked songs. (Remind me to tell you how bad we need advanced boolean log­ic in iTunes playlists…) I’ll then ran­dom­ize the playlist, right-click on it and “Copy to Play Order”, and then uncheck the ran­dom set­ting. This puts them in a ran­dom order, but iTunes won’t auto­mat­i­cal­ly reshuf­fle it when I hit play on the playlist.

Once the playlist is set up, it’s sim­ple to review the songs. I start lis­ten­ing to them. As they fin­ish, their play count incre­ments, and they auto­mat­i­cal­ly dis­ap­pear. If I skip them, I make note of where I stopped before I sync the iPod with iTunes. Any songs that are still in the playlist, but are before the song that I stopped at, are songs I’ve skipped. I’ll label them to be reviewed again in a month (some­times I’ll get in a weird mood when lis­ten­ing to music and skip a song once that I actu­al­ly enjoy lis­ten­ing to), and they’ll get unchecked so they’re no longer in my main playlists.

Com­pli­cat­ed? Yes. Pow­er­ful? Absolute­ly. It took a while to fig­ure out the ide­al way to man­age this review sys­tem, but now that it’s set up, it seems to work fair­ly well. I do wish that iTunes was­n’t such a hardass about the Skip Count: a song’s Skip Count is only incre­ment­ed if you go to the next track some­time between 5 and 30 sec­onds into the song’s play­back. It ought to incre­ment the skip count if I skip while I’m more than 5 sec­onds into the song, and more than 5 sec­onds from the end.