I have what I think is a fairly large collection of music on my server. It’s approximately 40,000 tracks of music / 1.9 TB / total playback time of about 110 days. Nearly a third of a year of no-repeat music.
This represents close to 50 years of active music curation across just about all genres.
I see screenshots on these forums of collections of 750,000 or 1.5 million tracks. Using my own library’s math, that’s 5.6 or 11 years of no-repeat music.
I can’t fathom anyone caring about that quantity of music. What do folks suppose are the use cases, as it were, for manually curating that many tracks?
I guess that’s part of my point. Even I think my music collection is over the top. I still routinely hear new songs that I’ve never heard before when I randomize my collection. At a certain point, I can only guess that people are just collecting stuff that they intend to listen to at a later date, rather than really liking and appreciating the music they are putting in their collection. But that’s an assumption, and I am eager to explore what might really be going on with this.
(Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!)
Collectors are collectors…I don’t think it involves any more overthinking than that.
For me, it is more than just a collection of music that I want to listen to. When I see album sleeves, almost always, I remember the time period when I bought the album. When I look at my music collection, I see a significant part of my life.
It’s the same when I look at my book collection, I see another significant part of my life. It’s a memory lane, and it transports me back to a specific period.
I remember the moment I acquired, the album, the concerts of the band I saw, sometimes even the interviews I did with hem or reviewed their album(s), or the time I spend with some of them.
Of course, I am aware that I can never listen to all of my albums in one row. That was never my intention in building my collection. But just like my favourite music created the soundtrack of my life, so do the albums and the collection they form, create the memories of my life. And that is a huge value to me.
I have a massive music collection, due to working at/friends who worked at radio stations in the 80’s and nineties. It’s all ripped to 11 or so terabytes of FLAC.
Much of it is old and unusual stuff that doesn’t make it to the streaming services.
I look at it as “another available library”, like Qobuz or Tidal or Spotify or whatever. If Roon is behaving, my local stuff links nicely to and from other things Roon knows about, so the value of having it is increased. (Bandmembers, producers, etc.)
I regularly delete stuff that I’ve newly discovered and decided I don’t like, but it’s still more than I’ll ever listen to entire.
Thanks for the perspective @Andrew_Webb. I would state that your model is to create your own radio station that you can discover from. That seems to be something that is possible for all the large collections I am seeing on here. This would be different from my own model, which is to collect stuff that I have already reviewed in one form or another, and that I have decided I either like or will like. And I sorta thought that was most people’s model, but through this thread I am learning it is not! This is both interesting and cool to discover. Thanks again.
In the days of physical media a large music collection took up a large amount of space but now a large digital music collection takes up almost no space. Sure it takes time to curate one’s music collection but I feel that is act of love and I truly love music so it’s time well spent.
@Jazzfan_NJ Very interesting - what percentage of those 914,987 tracks would you estimate that have you listened to, versus those that you are saving for future discovery? Also: do you keep stuff that you don’t care for after listening to it?
Percentage listened to: I would guess about 20% with 20% for future and 60% for what the heck.
Do I keep stuff that I don’t like at first listen: If for some strange I find that if I somehow added some EMO to my music collection it goes in the trash instantly and I flog myself for next four hours to make amends. But seriously one’s musical tastes can change over time and music that once I would not listen to, I can now actually enjoy (except of course for EMO).
Please keep in mind that with the vast amount of music available on today’s music streaming services, large personal music collections are becoming more and more pointless, unless of course one has the entire recorded output of one’s child’s junior high school band in one’s collection.
I have listened to 95% of my library (110,261 tracks). Some of it is part of box sets I haven’t checked out, some is obscure classical I haven’t dedicated time to, and some are duplicate tracks. I love purchasing and comparing different remasters.
I come mainly from a pre-streaming mindset where access was limited to what you purchased or checked out from the library. I stream now as well, but Qobuz favorites make up a smallish number of what I own, although if I only own it on LP, I will favorite it on Qobuz. That makes up about 1,000 albums.
I am grateful that if I ever stop paying for a streaming service, I would not often miss one at this point other than for discovery, and that I have plenty of music that will scratch any itch.
Danny once mentioned that Roon users don’t use the Discover feature very often, so they kind of put its development on the back burner. This floors me, actually, because I find it essential in perusing my own library. Yes, I could walk over to the racks, and I do often do that, but using the Discover feature is essential for my library. I try and chose something I haven’t listened to in a really long time or something that I don’t remember very well. It always keeps me on my toes.
I have about 120,000 tracks in my digital library. As others have said, it is not that I want to listen to every track many, many times. I’ve probably heard 95% at least once. And some of my albums I’ve played 100s of times. But I also like the fact that I can discover certain things in random listening. And I also really like having friends over and they ask about an artist or song, and I can play it for them.
Regarding keeping things one doesn’t like. Some of my favorite music by some artists I hated initially. Neil Young “tonights the night” I hated in the 1970s. Now one of my favorite Neil Young albums. Elvis Costello’s North I didn’t like when released. Now love it. Miles Davis Bitches Brew I hated when released, now love it. All of this is why I don’t understand the concept of “I listened initially or for a few months, didn’t like it, so got rid of it.”
The discover feature is one of my favorites. I learn so much about my own curated music collection that I didn’t know before through that feature. Only thing I don’t care for is that it double-refreshes for me each time I visit it…
I have a paltry 17,000 compared to many here. However, I was traveling extensively internationally for many years and wanted all my music with me, especially on long flights. Streaming services weren’t an option then, and I like, similar to other statements, curating and the memories of purchasing albums, especially from around the world when I was traveling.
I still haven’t started using a streaming service, but will say based on the size and various genres of my local files, Roon’s radio/discovery feature is amazing. Danny said local libraries aren’t treated to the same level of depth as those using streaming services, but I truly enjoy some deep tracks or things I haven’t heard or listened to in awhile. Really this is what Roon brings, together will all the linked metadata.
I don’t pay for streaming services. I’ve had free trials to Spotify and Apple Music to explore some artists and genres deeply, and with each passing month, there is less that is new to me. I am at a point in my life where I have discovered most of what I am going to discover in older music — and that is a lot! The latest old album discovery for me has been Expressions - Don Williams | Release Info | AllMusic. Each such discovery is precious, but I also feel quite settled that my lifetime in music exploration and curation has brought me everything I could have hoped for and more. I still enjoy reading what’s new each week on On the CD Front / Pause and Play (the music site) and on some music sites.
WIth my 40,000 tracks, I still discover tracks I never got to that I wind up appreciating!
Random shuffle and “Discover” still delight!
Oh, and Record Collector magazine once in a while is a treat…