Let me be your filter.
I have a 600Gb iTunes library. That’s 62,187 songs (currently), or 231 days’ worth of music. I’m not showing off - it’s more of a curse than a blessing - but it’s important background for my next thought , so bear with me.
When I discover new music that I like, I tend to download at least the album the music is from, and often - after having read reviews - the entire discography of the artist responsible. This generally means that while I have a great deal of music that I am intimately familiar with, and a working memory of what my library contains and doesn’t contain (and how well tagged it is)*, there’s also a LARGE amount of my iTunes library (probably about 60%) that I haven’t even heard. I think this is testament to the age - days of dialup long passed have still emblazoned “THE INTERNET IS NOT A GIVEN” into my psyche - and I live in perpetual fear of losing such essentials as internet access. So I want to ensure that when the inevitable collapse of modern industrialised society happens, I’ve got enough music to get me through it (likely dynamo-powered).
So far, so obsessive. The main reasons I curse the size of the library is the sheer amount of CPU cycles iTunes appears to need to index it… But that’s nothing on how long it takes me to select tracks to fill my portable music player (once Walkman, then Discman, then MiniDisc**, then iPod, then - glory glory - iPhone), taking care to not leave wasted space, and also to represent “important” albums in the full (Kid A and D’Angelo’s Voodoo are two of very few albums that are granted Lossless privileges - although the latter is so well recorded it sounds good at 96kbps MP3). The last time I was forced to painstakingly pick and choose 50Gb of music to sync to my iPhone, it took me roughly 8 hours, and it’s generally something that needs to be done in a single sitting.
Now, unlike many who claim this, I have a genuinely diverse music taste, and a seemingly insatiable appetite to experience the music I know & love over and over again, as well as music that is new to me. I can’t think of any major genre that goes completely unrepresented in my library, or without me having certain tracks I’d die for. I care not about the apparent “credibility” of the artist, I only care about the credibility of the music, and even then my parameters are astonishingly wide. The only things are RIGHT OUT are the cheap, nasty, ugly use of pitch correction to hide lazy vocal performances (WHERE’S THE HUMANITY - LITERALLY?), and music that I perceive to be made for no other reason than to make money. All the other reasons - the genuine, balls-out, proper reasons for music - to communicate, to make people dance, catharsis, expression, anger, and that stupid “love” nonsense - are all reasons that resonate with me. Strongly. Even music that others would (hatefully) refer to “guilty pleasures” stay in the playlist. If I loved it 20 years ago, I love it now (I completely do not understand people who like a type of music one year, and hate it the next. In fact, I think they’re full of bullshit)
So essentially, out of something that is entirely meant to maximise my own personal enjoyment of the music that I am so extremely privileged (and so are you) to be able to walk around and hear in awesome clarity as I potter about doing my daily doings, I’m becoming a highly-trained, finely-tuned, very experienced (I’ve been following this process for a decade) filter.
And basically, over the next few years, or just before I die (I’m likely to get warning, you see), I will publish my 50Gb’s worth, or roughly 7000 songs, that I truly consider “essential” to me and my mobile life - that I pay a pretty premium to be able to store entirely on my phone (I may well recant these words in the future, but I think 64Gb is finally “enough” for my local storage needs on my mobile device. 50 of that for music, the rest fits in the rest.)
ANYWAY. So I am slowly, but constantly refining a playlist of around 7000 songs that I believe are worth integrating fully into my soul.
And when it reaches a point of ripe, pluckable maturity, I will DEFINITELY be sharing that playlist, in full, on the web, with all the none of the people who are interested.
But in a very real sense, once I have levelled-up, I believe it will be the fullest indicator of who I was as a person, the first life journey I went on. So maybe it will interest people once I am inevitably murdered.
*around 2006 I gave up trying to ensure that all the track metadata was correct in the library, when it reached about 80Gb in size. It basically became a full time job. And even though I admittedly was gainfully unemployed, that was specifically because I didn’t want a full-time job.
**Oh how I loved MiniDisc, which was amazing technology that was oddly prescient of the future - decent lossy compression, and computer-like storage. Sony, in the post-Walkman MiniDisc heyday, really didn’t deserve to have their lunch so fully munched by Apple. But thank God for Apple. (Except iTunes). That was a joke, of course I love iTunes.