iTunes Spring Cleaning

As I mentioned over at Talk Nerdy to Me Lover, as well as on my Twitter feed, I recently purchased a 4 terabyte (that's 4,000 gigabytes, or like... a fuckton of bytes) hard drive for my iTunes Library.

Before I did the massive file copy over to the new drive, I decided to undertake a spring cleaning project on the music portion of my Library -- by far the smallest part, but also the most disorganized. A few years back, I digitized my entire CD library (much like I'm doing with my DVDs now), only I didn't do any filtering. I just dumped EVERYTHING into iTunes. So, if I had two copies of a CD (say, the U.S. edition and the international edition), they both went in. CD singles? In. Bonus discs? In.

Because of that, I ended up with multiple copies of the same song. Not multiple versions. Multiple copies. The same exact song, in my iTunes library, as many as four or five times, all because that song was included on multiple albums (greatest hits CDs were a huge culprit in this clusterfuck). So this past weekend, I went through and deleted all the duplicate copies, manually transferring their play counts over to the copy of the track I left in iTunes. In some cases, this required little to no work. In others -- specifically for my massive Britney Spears library -- I really had to dig into the tracks in iTunes and figure out what was actually identical. In the case of one song (" one more time") I had seven copies of the album version of that track, on seven different discs. For Lady Gaga, I had "The Fame", "The Fame (Special Edition)" and the two-disc version of "The Fame Monster", so there were plenty of tracks that were in there three times. No more.

Before I did this, I had some idea that my "most played" songs in iTunes weren't really representative of the songs I listened to the most often, but I didn't realize just how off they were. Here's how my iTunes Top 10 Most Played Tracks lists looks, before and after the spring cleaning:

Before After
1.Lose Yourself - Eminem 162 Toxic - Britney Spears 195
2. Because of You - Kelly Clarkson 142 Because of You - Kelly Clarkson 195
3. Mandy - Barry Manilow 130 I'm A Slave 4 U - Britney Spears 179
4. Yeah! - Usher 129 Lose Yourself - Eminem 175
5. Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson 123 ... Baby One More Time - Britney Spears 148
6. Shook Ones, Pt. 2 - Mobb Deep 120 Oops!... I Did It Again - Britney Spears 133
7. Toxic - Britney Spears 117 Mandy - Barry Manilow 130
8. Trade It All, Pt. 2 - Fabolous 116 Yeah! - Usher 129
9. Buffy The Vampire Slayer Theme - Nerf Herder 114 I Need A Girl (Part II) - Diddy 127
10. In Da Club - 50 Cent 110 A Moment Like This - Kelly Clarkson 124

Well, it would appear the biggest beneficiary from the spring cleaning was, not surprisingly, Britney Spears. Previously she had just one song in my Top 10, but now she makes up four of the top six spots. Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" remains at number two, but gets a 53 play increase in total play count. "A Moment Like This" moves into the Top 10, one spot ahead of "Since U Been Gone", which stayed at 123 plays.

Beyond this data, the number of songs with 100 plays went from 13 to 19, and there are six tracks currently sitting at 99 (including 3 Britney Spears tracks). While the new Top 10 list may seem much less diverse (six artists instead of nine), it's definitely more representative of my listening tastes.

Also, with fewer duplicated tracks, there's much more diversity in my Top 25% most played tracks, which is the backbone playlist for my iPhone. Just in the two days I've been driving around with the updated playlist, I've heard some songs I hadn't heard in years.