Size of the Average Music Library: 7,160 Songs

image from static.technorati.com The average TidySongs user has 7,160 songs in their music library. These people may not be your average music fan. That's clear. What's obvious is that these users likely didn't pay for a majority of these songs.

For the inundated, TidySongs operates like a music library nanny. It comes in and fills in your missing titles, artwork, and deletes song duplicates. It cleans things up.

Why would you have dirty songs?

Either you ripped a bunch of songs off random CD-Rs or are using LimeWire Pirate Edition, among other things, because iTunes and Amazon downloads come complete with artwork and don't have any misspellings in the titles.

Here are some additional stats:

  • The average number of songs missing album artwork is 4,230
  • The average number of songs missing the name of the artist is 490.
  • The average number of songs missing track or year information is 1,984.
  • The average number of duplicate songs is 814.

So what do we make of all this?

It's hard to say. What's notable first is that a 32GB iPod can hold about 8,000 songs. Therefore, it's somewhat ironic that the number of songs in the average TidySongs user's library matches so closely so Apple's most popular product.

Second, it's hard to argue that the iTunes business model of $1 a song reflects reality. There are many ways to go about getting 7,160 songs in your collection and most of them involve diligent torrenting. Well, and having a friend that also has 7,160 songs in their collection – that's a surefire way to fill up that lonely, empty iPod that you got for Christmas. That's still quite a few songs though.

After taking a glance inside 1 million people's music libraries over a two-year period – that's the number they came up with. Even if you religiously download from blogs, take up Amazon on their Daily Deal, and buy used music, getting a hold of that many songs legally is still an expensive undertaking. It takes time.

iTunes doesn't make sense to fans. Their libraries outgrow their wallets. And fast.

How many songs are in your library?

image from www.tidysongs.com

(Click picture to enlarge)

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  1. about to break 14k in my iTunes library. Its mostly mixtapes/demos and my old school CD collection. 7k is very easy if you are a serious fan.

  2. So….
    ….how much detail do they keep records on? Do they have internal charts for songs and artists? I’d be very interested to know how much they get to root around on people’s hard drives.

  3. In round numbers those 7000 tracks would be about 700 albums, which in the pre-2008-crash days would have been about 4-5 years of music purchasing for me at about 3 albums per week. I’ve easily got 3x that many CDs, and 2x that many vinyl LPs.
    But yeah, to quote Clay Shirky again: To a first approximation, all computer owners under the age of 35 are felons. (Age 45 by now…) And, as I phrase it, in the future, all music fans will be criminals.

  4. i have about 1,000 paid-for CD’s that i never ripped and are sitting in storage. i miss the music a lot, but there’s no way i’m pulling all of it out and transferring it. nor will i buy it all over again or steal it.

  5. I have about 10,000 legit songs in my collection. Most ripped from CDs I purchased. The majority of them required a good deal of clean up after ripping with iTunes, which doesn’t supply artwork or lyrics and often Gracenote has mistakes or the disk was aligned with the wrong reference.
    You say: “because iTunes and Amazon downloads come complete with artwork and don’t have any misspellings in the titles.”
    You assume the only way to acquire music files is to purchase digital downloads? Many users neglect to activate Gracenote it in iTunes and other players when they rip CDs. Many others choose to use other sources for title data.
    You say: “What’s notable first is that a 32GB iPod can hold about 8,000 songs. Therefore, it’s somewhat ironic that the number of songs in the average TidySongs user’s library matches so closely so Apple’s most popular product.”
    WTF??? I don’t know where to begin here. You do realize you have to stage music on a computer before loading your iPod, right? There’s no limit to how many songs your library holds. And you seem to assume a 128k bit-rate and 3 minute songs. You know people like uncompressed music these days? Equating library size to an iPod’s capacity is simply ludicrous.
    The only thing I agree with you on here is: “iTunes doesn’t make sense to fans.”
    I don’t disagree that there’s tremendous pirating going on, and I don’t condone it. But this article is so wrong it hurts.

  6. Buy a TB external drive, and configure iTunes (or your favorite jukebox software) to auto-rip uncompressed MP3s (or your favorite format) to the external. Then stack a bunch of CDs next to it each day to process. Push a CD in, iTunes will auto-rip, then eject the CD to let you know it’s ready for the next. There are plug-ins and Apple-scripts that will fetch artwork and lyrics for each song (such as those from http://dougscripts.com/itunes/).
    Figure 10 CDs a day and this will take you ~5 months. You will then have an amazing digital library at your fingertips that impresses friends and gets the girls. But most importantly you’ll rediscover the music you already purchased. With a collection like that and iTunes’ Genius playlists, you’re set. It is TOTALLY worth it.
    Then, if you own an iPod, create a special playlist called “iPod sync” and drag albums or songs into it and set that playlist to sync with your iPod. Remove songs when you need to free up space. This is an easy way to manage the music on your iPod.

  7. I guess I’m a bit of a physical guy when it comes to music because I buy CDs and refuse to do so with the compressed sounding mp3 format. If I’d buy a download format, it would have to be *.iso, an image file for CD burning.
    Anyway, because you asked, I did a search on the computer in my “other” place, which is where I dwell during tbe days I spend at the office. I have ripped nearly all of the good songs from my CD collection that is kept in the “first” place onto the computer for convenience so I don’t need to carry them around all the time. There are about 8700 of them. The number is continuing to grow.
    Besides that, being oldschool, I’d like to endorse WinAmp and AudioGrabber in place of iTunes.
    Oh, and the average number of songs missing album artwork is all of them since I don’t want to waste time scanning covers. I prefer reading album credits though, and do so online as well if they can be found on sites such as allmusic.com or discogs.com or even wikipedia (which since the advent of the mp3 promo album unfortunately has become too rare for new releases). And the number of duplicate songs is 0. I hope this helps.

  8. To quote CLUTCH:
    To quote CLUTCH:
    I’m a rock and roll outlaw.Where rock is criminal, criminals rock.
    Where rock is criminal, they rock like this.

  9. Unfortunately we’ve become used to the compressed sound of CDs, as well, so uncompressed lossless isn’t too available even though storage is becoming a non-issue. Hopefully this will change and audio quality will catch up with the amazing convenience that mp3 has brought us.

  10. Consider the sampling flaw in this data:
    The sample group is those iTunes users who have used TidySongs. Who uses TidySongs? Users who have large, unwieldy, and hard to manage libraries. This number does not include the great numbers of casual listeners who have purchased 3-4 albums from iTunes to try it out.
    The title of this article is incorrect, the first sentence is more accurate.

  11. CDs are not actually compressed. They are recorded at a sample rate of 41.3 KHz, in two track stereo, at 16 bit resolution per track. This preserves the full range of audible frequency response (audible to humans, but not dogs). Some recordings are compressed in dynamic range, meaning the difference between maximum and minimum volume, but those are largely legacy recordings, originally released on vinyl, where wild swings in amplitude (volume) wouldn’t fit neatly into the physical grooves of a vinyl LP.

  12. I Have 847 songs and I am 16 years old. Half of that I bought on Itunes, the rest is from albums around my house. I have 49 Studio Albums. 7160 tracks seems like so much music.

  13. I have exactly 499 songs all from iTunes, by my money and shared with NONE, and guess where I work? Dunkin donuts. Sometime I see police officers and construction workers downloading free music trough YouTube, I don’t have respect to those people, music-wise. My moto, like ur artist? Don’t steal from them!

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