Large Music Libraries: Collecting or Hoarding?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by shinobi-81, May 1, 2012.

  1. shinobi-81 macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012
    This posting addresses everyone who has more than 20,000 songs in their iTunes library. When the first iPod came out, most people could fit their entire library on it, even though the capacity of the iPod was only 5 GB (1000 songs). Reading some of the threads here makes me wonder if there is anyone left who has less than that in their iTunes library.

    Question 1:
    Whether the music is purchased from the iTunes store, ripped from existing CD-collection or downloaded from PirateBay, what reason would someone have to acquire enough music for several years of straight listening?

    Question 2:
    If having a library of several terabytes, which is the best way to deal with the space constraints of the iPod?

    Question 3:
    Where is it appropriate to draw the line between passionate collecting and compulsive hoarding?
  2. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    I usually ask myself if I'm keeping it because I like it or if it's because I might want to listen to it in the future. If it's not because I like it, it's gone.
  3. decafjava macrumors 68030


    Feb 7, 2011
    My library 4200 items and I have listened to everything once! I rotate using smartplaylists based on last played to insure a rotation. Filter using ratings. Occasionally listen to lowest rated to see if I changed my mind (the problem with large compliation albums)-usually not but some of the bad stuff I like to keep on hand. :p
  4. Tobias Funke macrumors 6502a

    Tobias Funke

    Apr 3, 2012
    I am a long distance big rig driver.

    I can easily go through 15 new CD's everyday!! :D
  5. Old Muley macrumors 6502a

    Old Muley

    Jan 6, 2009
    Titletown USA
    "Several years" worth of straight listening might be a bit of an exaggeration. The last time I checked, my collection would last almost 28 days if played 24/7. For me the biggest reason for my ever-expanding music library has a lot to do with my evolving musical tastes. What I'm listening to today on a regular basis is quite different from where I was 10 or 20 years ago. The size of my library is directly effected by the compression scheme I use. CD's get ripped using Apple Lossless, which accounts for the largest chunk of my files. At one point everything would fit on my 160gb iPod classic without a problem. Eventually I blew past that limit, so now I compress everything to 128kbps to get my entire library portable.
  6. emvath macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    My library would last 52.4 days apparently. I love discovering new bands and downloading their albums. I also enjoy getting my friends into some different stuff as well. I also have a pretty broad range of musical tastes depending on my mood. It's classical right now, but it was Meshuggah during lunch :D.

    As for dealing with it with an iPod, the latest versions of iTunes will let you automatically convert into 128, 192, or 256 kbps AAC when putting the music on your iPod. That's the way to go if you ask me.

    If you think you may be hoarding, create a smart playlist that shows all the songs that have been played zero times. Delete the ones you don't think you will ever listen to. Or just keep them, storage space is cheap nowadays.
  7. Otago Lad macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2011
    New Zealand
    Born in 1970 I've had the great fortune/misfortune (whichever way you want to look at it) to have been exposed to a wide range of music and therefore my large 39,000+ song collection reflects that (Opera to Nu-Metal etc.) and I've had quite a number of years to collect music from LP's/CD's/Downloads. I pretty much know what I have in my library and I often hit random or use smart playlists to listen to stuff that I haven't heard in a while.

    Totally agree with emvath that using the auto-compression settings in iTunes for your iPod/iPhone etc. is the way to go although I generally keep the stuff I'm really into at the moment on my iPhone and listen to the other stuff from my Library at home through my wired all-home sound system.
  8. Rawkfist macrumors regular


    Jul 4, 2010
    Question 1: I have been buying albums on vinyl and later cd's since the late '60's. Since storage is so cheap now, why not have it available for listening through iTunes? I have over 33K songs and will play 94 plus days. I have not heard every song in my collection. Working on it.

    Question 2: Rotate the fresh stuff and keep as many of your old favorites as space will allow. It's a pain but I only do it now a couple or three times a year.
    I also keep an old 80 gig full of the stuff I never seem to tire of.

    Question 3: I'm not a hoarder. I can quit anytime I want to. How much is enough? How much is too much? That's hard to answer. There are lots of albums I still want/need for my collection. And good music hits the street regularly. Maybe I can't quit.

    Remember the words of David Bowie, Too much is never enough.
  9. Fresh Tendrils, May 1, 2012
    Last edited: May 1, 2012

    Fresh Tendrils macrumors regular

    May 14, 2011
    I have about 22,000 at the moment. About 1/2 are ripped from my own CD's and the other 1/2 are unofficial concert bootlegs, acoustic radio sessions etc. I'm definitely collecting, not hoarding. If I had the time and the money, I could easily go out in the next week and buy another 20,000. Alternative, metal, grunge, blues, britpop, punk, classic hard rock, folk... love it all. I generally never tire of any of my music but if I do, I don't delete it because 1) I paid for it, so why should I, 2) friends coming over for a beer might want to listen to it, 3) sometimes after a year or so, I'll feel like listening to it again

    My only regret in having so many songs at my fingertips, is that it's kind of killed the album experience for me. I used to sit down and listen to CD's from start to finish. Now it's usually just on shuffle. :( The only exceptions would be albums like Dark Side of the Moon.

    I just copy a 4/5 star song playlist [of studio music - no boots] to my iPod

    P.S. never once used Pirate Bay or Torrents. Wouldn't even know how.
  10. Otago Lad macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2011
    New Zealand
  11. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Many pirated large collections will be created by the old hunter and gatherer instincts that are still alive in many people. You can completely ignore these.

    If someone has a huge collection of paid for music, then you may assume that these people are just very interested in music. There are people who have several versions of Beethoven's complete symphonies because they like to listen to different interpretations of the same music. I have various versions of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" because one is just very nice and smooth, one is totally brutal and powerful, and another is different in some other way (and Tchaikovsky's "Four Seasons" because I was curious and it turned out to be just ********** brilliant).

    And I have seen people posting playlists with a play count over 100 for one song. What do you make of that? You won't find _that_ in my collection.
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Yes, I can well imagine the need for a lot of music in your job....what sort of stuff do you like to listen to?

    Agree completely with you & I think you've hit on one of the main reasons for large music libraries - namely that one's musical tastes change, and evolve over time. You are absolutely right. Stuff I listened to years ago no longer has the same appeal - and now - the Beatles' 'White' album is an odd example, I find that these days I prefer different tracks to what I used to like over 20 years ago, even when listening to an album I like a lot.

    Again, agree completely; I have a few versions of some of the classical works I really like (Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and, Soler's Fandango, for example, and several others) and they evoke different moods - sometimes, you want one particular interpretation, other times, a completely different take on a familiar work.
  13. skruggie macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2005
    Go watch an episode of hoarders on a&e, and then come back here and tell us why you think collecting music - physical or digital- relates in any way to what is a very real, and very sad disease.
  14. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2007
    1. OCD - I have been buying music since the late sixties and when I found an artist that I liked, I liked to hear everything by that artist. With the internet, I found that it was easier to download music by these artists rather than copy my cds, tapes and records to the drive. With that ease, came the availability of other music and live recordings and it ballooned out of control. I use iTunes as my primary library and its features make it easy to organize my music. My only complaint is that it doesn't handle OGG or FLAC files, and the alternatives to iTunes don't have the organizational ability.

    2. It's just a question of rotating music in and out of the iPod. I go through my music collection and something strikes my fancy and I add it, not too difficult, though what is a pain is when I decide to freshen the whole iPod, which means deleting all of the music and reloading. I find that on my commute I prefer to listen to shuffle, which means that the freshen cycle is less frequent than when I listened to albums straight through. On longer trips, I go to albums, so I have the best of both worlds with my iPod and my music collection.

    3. Given the size and expense of hard drives, it doesn't really matter if you can afford it. I have two external Rosewill drive cases that hold four drives each, besides the four drives in my MacPro. I have my music and movies in there, though there are currently two empty bays due to the price rise on internal drives after the floods in Thailand. Prices have started to drop, only $30 more than what they were before for 2TB drives and I will buy soon so I can start downloading my cd collection into lossless.

    The nice thing about computer is the size, so while my record collection, 1000 albums, takes up space of 4 feet wide by 3 feet high, my dvd collection takes up 8 feet by 5 feet, my cds 20 feet by 5 feet and my tapes 3 by 4, besides the VHS and Beta buried in closets, my computer and drives are a compact 2 x 2, and accessible by a few clicks of a button. (Oh, and I forgot my 20 feet of bookcases).

    I don't view it as compulsive hoarding with the physical objects, since they've all been listened to or read on more than one occasion. With the computer, I look at it as no harm, no foul, since it doesn't take up much space. Best of both worlds.
  15. shinobi-81 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012
    Most hoarders, and especially those who are in denial of their issues, will always say they collect things rather than hoard them. Sometimes, the field of interest is quite narrow - and limited to such items as books, children's toys, clothes or canned/dried food. It can also be more abstract matters, like information from the Internet. I fail to see why music should be excluded.
  16. Fresh Tendrils macrumors regular

    May 14, 2011
    I'm sorry, but I really think that you have a flawed understanding of what hoarding actually means. In the traditional evolutionary sense, hoarding is the accumulation of a resource in times or scarcity or in preparation of a time of scarcity. In the modern sense, hoarding is an unreasonable accumulation of items [that are of little to no real value], to the point of impairing an individuals life, and/or putting them at peril [ex health and safety risks created in the home by hoarding].

    The problem with describing a large iTunes library as hoarding is that it ignores the fact that a lot of people like many genres of music, and have different types of music for different moods, and/or occasions. For instance, I'm not particularly a big classical, film score, lounge, or jazz fan, but I probably have 600 or 700 songs in these genres, because I find classical and film scores relaxing when studying, and lounge and jazz are enjoyable mellow genres for dinner parties or family occasions etc. Similarly, I'm not particularly interested in pop/chart music, but this is the kind of music a lot of my friends like [particularly girls], so I also have some of this for when they come round. Add to this music for other occasions [romantic, chilling out, etc.] and the music that I've been personally interested in over the last 15 years of being a music fan, and the collection pretty quickly hits 20,000.

    So, is this hoarding? No. Because the items have REAL value to me, and collecting them has no negative consequences.
  17. gnasher729, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012

    gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Even if you were a "hoarder", there are people who collected all the newspapers they read in the last 30 years resulting in a home that is unlivable and a fire hazard. You can "hoard" tons and tons music and the only negative is half a dozen Drobos in the corner of a room.

    If I "hoarded" all 20 million songs available on iTunes, that would be about 160 TB, that's 14 12 TB Buffalo Drivestations for £1200 each. Easily affordable, doesn't take much space, and doesn't affect my life in any way.

    But most music collectors just _like_ music and don't feel the necessity to insult other people about the things that other people like. I _enjoy_ collecting music. Hoarders don't enjoy what they are doing. You seem to be quite fixated on your preconceived ideas, so I think there is much more reason to worry about you than about my music collection.

    To the OP: If I looked up "Soler's Fandango" on the iTunes store, and downloaded a CD with the Fandango and a dozen piano sonatas, you'd probably declare me a "hoarder", right? And if I couldn't decide whether I prefer a harpsichord version, or a piano version, and whether the one by Marcela Roggeri sounds better than Davide Cabassi, and downloaded all three, that would make me an extreme hoarder? (Now all three CDs would cost about 0.024% of my hard drive, so I can afford it. And I actually think I prefer the Roggeri recording).
  18. Pj1969 macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2012
    Digital music should be excluded - for the following reasons. While compulsive hoarding is as yet not recognised formally as a seperate mental illness, it is set to be included in the DSM V - with an important diagnostic criterion - that it must cause clinically significant distress or impairment of social, occupation or other functioning. It is hard to see how a digital music collection would satisfy this and other criteria for diagnosis - there is no physical aspect to it, which is another important factor- there must be physical clutter that precludes normal use of someones living space. Unless you have a compulsion to fill your house floor to ceiling with hard drives full of music, then a large iTunes library will never meet the clinical criteria for hoarding. If you are spending too much time downloading stuff from the internet to the detriment of your real life, its more likely that there are anxiety, depressive, or compulsive components to your behaviour. There is considerable overlap of symptoms however, and hoarders may indeed be depressed, anxious, and compulsive, but the defining component of hoarding is that it involves real, physical items, collected to the extent that they physically affect the use of living space.
  19. Tobias Funke macrumors 6502a

    Tobias Funke

    Apr 3, 2012
    Anything and everything.

    But I do have quite a soft spot for Electric/Sampled music.

    Right from old Kraftwork up to newish Chemical brothers etc.

    But I am also partial to the Beatles and the Rolling stones.

    I also bulk buy SH CD's just for something new to listen to. :D

    Some of my most favourite CD's have been found this way.
  20. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Hey, thanks for alerting me to yet another version of Soler's Fandango; I have not heard the Roggeri recording and I very much look forward to listening to it....;)

    Yes, it is really interesting to come across new (and compelling) stuff which can broaden your musical horizons; I love those eclectic music shops (and listening to specialist music radio stations hosted by people with both a love of and an encyclopedic knowledge of music), places where you can sometimes hear something new and absolutely amazing......
  21. f1rd720 macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2012
    large library

    My library is over 63 days. I like having a large library just because I really like it when you hear a song that you like and when you check, you already have it. I've been collecting CD's since they first came out and just want to put them on my computer in case there is a disaster at the house and I lose the physical cd.
  22. shinobi-81 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012
    I never felt any need to insult people who like music. But there was a time when I compulsively downloaded music I didn't even like, only because the music was popular or the record somehow had high sales numbers. I'm not sure myself what brought me there in the first place, but now I have trimmed down my library with 40-50 percent.

    Anyway, since I may get there again (for music or something else), this is why I would like to know the difference between hoarding and collecting. I guess this also explains why my preconceived ideas are shining through.
  23. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended


    Jun 6, 2005
    Universe 0 Timeline
    I have a library with 60,000 plus tracks, 4500 audiobooks, and a thousands of movies and TV shows.

    I also have an office that's wall to wall books, DVDs, and albums/CDs.

    If I didn't convert to digital format years ago, they'd have dedicated an episode of Hoarders to me by now.

    Question 1: I've got all the music I want. Every now and then I'll buy something from iTunes or Amazon, but it's so nice to have a solid collection of classical, country western and rock music to listen to. It does make tend to make me picky because since I've listened to the best stuff humanity has created over hundreds of years, most of the popular music I hear leaves me "meh."

    Question 2: I've created an iTunes smart playlist that copies over to my iPod touch music I've listened to at least 5 times (several thousand tracks). Another smart playlist selects 50 tunes at random that I haven't listened to in a few months.

    Finally, I let iTunes convert the tracks to 128 kbps AAC files before transferring to the iPod touch. It creates a lot of space and I don't notice a lowering in quality.

    Question 3: I'm not sure that you can hoard digital files. I suppose if you're buying stuff from iTunes instead of groceries, that would be the sign that you need help.

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