The iPod was released on October 23, 2001 with the catchy slogan of 1,000 songs in your pocket.
- My first thought: Wow, that’s a lot of songs!
- My second thought: Do I even have that many songs?
- My third thought: Even if I did, would they be songs I actually want to listen to?
This was the pre-iTunes era and my music library consisted of:
- Hundreds of CDs from the 1980s and 1990s that I’d outgrown
- Poorly pirated music from an era when radio was still the predominant discovery mechanism
I didn’t even have a thousand songs I wanted to listen to at all. I set an ambitious goal. I wanted to assemble 1,000 great songs to carry in my pocket. I defined a great song as one I wanted to play many times without getting sick of it.
Fast forward 15 years (300-500 songs!)
Originally, I thought I’d have my list of 1,000 songs while the original iPod was still out. Turns out, this was far, far harder than I expected!
By this point, I had assembled a list of 500, but it was really difficult! Whenever I’d find new songs I liked, I remove ones I was tired of. I was proud of my milestone, but I felt the 500 were just not really that great. I ended up removing about 200 of them and going back to 300 songs.
Fast forward another 3 years (700 songs!)
Three years later, I switched to Beats Music and then eventually to Spotify. Both greatly improved music discovery over iTunes and Apple Music. At this point, I’d gotten to 700, but it was a list I felt much happier with.
A total of 19 years, 4 months, 11 days later (1,000 songs!)
Earlier today, I hit song #1,000 in my playlist. No doubt I’ll start removing songs I’m tired of, but hopefully continue to find new music so I can keep it above 1,000 songs in my pocket, in my car, and on my HomePod.
Analyzing my playlist
I love data so I want to analyze this list of songs that was 20 agonizing years in the making and see what’s in it.
|Number of songs||1,000|
|Number of days to add each song||7|
|Artists with more than 10 songs||16|
|Total number of artists||447|
|Average number of songs per artist||2.2|
|Average year of release||2009|
|Oldest song||We Can Work it Out, The Beatles|
|Newest song||Mystery of Love, Thibault Cauvin|
Artists with more than 10 songs each in my playlist: VAST, Sia, Enya, Ludovico Einaudi, R.E.M., Taylor Swift, Brett Dennen, The Naked and Famous, David Byrne, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Linkin Park, Max Avery Lichtenstein, The Connells, The Prodigy, Iron & Wine, Tycho
This was a lot of work but there are worse things to do with OCD. Every day I add and remove new songs. Who knows whether it’ll stay above 1,000 or make it to 2,000 someday. My bet would be on the former.