A couple of years ago, I bought some used iMacs from a guy who, in hindsight, probably pinched them off a truck somewhere. The deal was great, and based on some fortuitous timing, I resold one and recouped the cost of all three. Having an extra machine to tinker with was good, and I put it to work as a music server and low-cost backup for my MP3 collection. I wound up bringing it to work and quietly advised some friends to download a copy of iTunes and take advantage of the library streaming feature.
Since that time, our company has grown to the point where there are twice as many employees, and word of my music collection leaked out. At one point, I was organizing a group of fellow music lovers to buy a used server and consolidate our assorted collections into one big library, but as the number of people expanded and the RIAA got more litigious, I decided to back away from the idea. (Dear corporate lawyers: I’m above board, and I don’t fileshare.)
These days, an interesting phenomena has occurred: new iTunes libraries are popping up inside the company. Some days there are as many as seven or eight, but usually we average about five. There are some gems in there, like the collection of Lewis Black recordings, or the guy that has seven Charlie Parker albums I haven’t heard, or the Metallica back catalog, or those killer Stevie Ray Vaughan bootlegs. But mostly, it’s one or two Pink songs, follwed by the entire Final Fantasy catalog (apparently there is one guy who only writes music for these stupid games), and then some band called Finger Eleven. New rule: your band immediately sucks if you have a number in the name. Three Doors Down. Third Eye Blind. Seven Mary Three. Eve 6. Echo7. These names tell me that the major music labels have a computer program that spits out dumb generic names, like the Pentagon’s “Operation” namer. Also, Linkin Park just sucks, and no amount of whining by that annoying lead singer guy will convince me otherwise.
I do wish people would name their tracks something other than “TRACK_1”, though. Spending some quality time being anal about metadata would be helpful, so I could make an informed choice about listening to a collection of Manga soundtracks or Bible chapters or muddy Evanescence live recordings. (No, no, and definitely not.) I suppose not everybody is as obsessive-compulsive about this as me, but I’m proud of the fact that 98% of the stuff I’ve got is correctly tagged so that searching provides useable results.
It’s funny, though, to see the variations in collections throughout the company. Scrolling through the lists yields the odd REO Speedwagon tune you hoped you’d forgotten, or a block of the Monkees, or a mislabeled Johnny Cash tune, or half the Footloose Soundtrack, or a whole library of hair metal.