Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who Dominates Your iPod?

I was fairly certain I knew, but the results were still a little surprising to me. Here's what I found, listing only the artists who are represented by more than 100 songs:

Artist -- Number of Songs

Frank Sinatra -- 347
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -- 339
Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard/Boston Spaceships/Cosmos -- 319
Ludwig Van Beethoven -- 306
Bob Dylan -- 242
Vigilantes of Love/Bill Mallonee -- 213
Arthur Lyman -- 209
Johnny Cash -- 209
Sebadoh -- 199
Paul Simon/Simon and Garfunkel -- 188
Van Morrison -- 173
Miles Davis -- 166
Richard Thompson -- 162
Bruce Cockburn -- 157
Coleman Hawkins -- 154
Ray Charles -- 151
Bob Wills -- 150
Elvis Presley -- 144
Bruce Springsteen -- 143
Willie Nelson -- 143
Brad Mehldau -- 133
Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown -- 128
Red House Painters/Sun Kil Moon/Mark Kozelek -- 124
Merle Haggard -- 123
Steve Earle -- 123
The Beach Boys -- 119
Modest Mouse -- 118
Genesis -- 117
George Jones -- 116
Joe Henry -- 114
Bill Evans -- 114
Thelonious Monk -- 109
B.B. King -- 106
John Lee Hooker -- 108
Old 97's/Rhett Miller -- 108
Dave Alvin -- 107
Lambchop -- 106
James Carter --- 106
Son Volt/Jay Farrar -- 104
Lucinda Williams -- 102
Matthew Sweet -- 102
U2 -- 102

Now all of this surely reveals something about my musical tastes. But it's still skewed. It doesn't, for example, account for any music I collected before, say, 1992, when I bought my first CD player and started collecting CDs. If I were to survey my music collection in terms of all music formats (CDs, MP3s, vinyl LPs, cassette tapes), I'm almost positive that the big winners would be Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Bruce Springsteen, in that order. I believe I have more than 100 albums by each of those artists, but most of them are scattered among vinyl LPs, and vinyl and cassette bootlegs.

The iTunes count is slightly misleading as well. Arthur Lyman?, you might ask. So might I. Arthur Lyman made a bunch of easy listening/exotica albums in the late '50s through the '60s, featuring xylophone and bird calls. No, I'm not making that up. I had to review his entire catalog for Paste a while back. Hence the ungodly number of ersatz tropicalia songs on my iPod, which, for some unfathomable reason, I've never bothered to delete. Robert Pollard is listed so highly only because he puts out a new album every other week or so. I need to purge there as well. The classical composers are listed by name, not by orchestra/conducter. Sorry, but I didn't buy Beethoven's Missa Solemnis because it was conducted by Herbert Von Karajan. And I like Sebadoh, but not that much. They're listed so highly because they released approximately 30 one-and-a-half minute songs per album.


Brother-in-law Bill said...

Once you get some of the crap off, load that sucker up with some Coltrane, since I noticed that was THE glaring omission. You've already got Dylan, Van, Miles and Bruce on there, but no Coltrane??!

May God have mercy on your soul.

No Coltrane??

P.S. The word verification, quite appropriately, was "cringe."

Andy Whitman said...

Bill, I have dozens of Coltrane albums, but they're all on vinyl or cassette tape. I went through my Coltrane phase (well, it's not really a phase; at least I've never grown out of it) before the age of CD. Hence there is no Coltrane on my iPod.

Andy Whitman said...

Now that I think of it, most of the jazz I own is on vinyl. I'd have well over 100 songs each from Sonny Rollins, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Keith Jarrett, Ella Fitzgerald, Ornette Coleman, and probably several others I'm forgetting, but I don't curently have the ability to convert vinyl to MP3s.