Notes from The Great iPod Experiment: The End

6 months, 27 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes. This is how long it took me to listen to the 11.5 days of music on my iPod exclusively while driving in my car (side note: Wolfram Alpha can do some pretty cool things). The fact that I spent more than a third of a month in my car in just under 7 months is a little frightening, but that’s a different can of worms.

I still plan to write about the minutia of listening to M-Z, but I really wanted to write something about finishing the whole thing, and it’s already been a month and a half since I did that.

Overall, it was a pretty satisfying experience. Like any project, beginning felt almost foolish, like something I was never going to want to finish, but even as I finished A (easily the longest letter of the entire endeavor) I felt like I had accomplished something. Eventually, inertia started carrying me and I became militant about finishing.

The last time I did something like this I listened to (fewer albums of) physical CDs and I was in my car a lot, driving back and forth from Federal Way to Bellingham to hang out with college friends while I took a year off. This time around the time in my car was mostly spent commuting from Issaquah to Seattle for work, although there was one camping trip that provided a nice 10-hours-in-three-days boost.

When I was finished, I culled a few albums from my iPod playlist, but not a wh. 30 gigabytes seems like a capacious amount of space, but I like a lot of music, and I tend to be loyal to the bands I listen to, so I have a lot of albums by a lot of artists. As it is, I deleted a few albums, added a few I’d either failed to sync or had acquired after the whole experiment started (I refused to make any changes to my iPod midway through) and ended up with no space once again. I could keep making cuts to make room for more new music, but as it is I was surprised at some of the stuff I’d already deleted, so I’m loathe to continue cutting out music that I know I enjoy listening to occasionally.

And yes, this is as #firstworldproblems as it gets, but it’s still vaguely upsetting.

Over the course of listening to about 400 albums by 138 artists (exact numbers elude me since, again, I’ve already changed the playlist) I missed a few things. While this arguably takes away from the purity of the experience of listening to “everything” on my iPod, I’m not really worried about it because I didn’t cheat on purpose, it just kind of happens. And it was only about an hour of music that I missed, so they’re extremely minor omissions.

While I’m glad to be free from the tyranny of the alphabet, I was kind of at a loss as to what to choose once the last track was over. I think I chose something fairly close to the beginning of the alphabet, since I hadn’t heard any of that music for the better part of 7 months, but the moment was unimportant enough that I don’t remember anymore.

Chances are good I’ll do this again at some point, but while I proved that every song on my iPod is worth listening to in its own way, I generally like to have a certain amount of control over what I listen to. I still throw the whole thing on random as described here on a regular basis, but whenever the whim strikes me, I can switch over to a full album.