The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How big...?

6-25-08 “How big is the perfect collection?”

After yesterday’s unusual rumination, I calculated that – at present – my record collection would take 59 years (and change) to listen to everything, if I only played 1 title per day. It would take a little bit of work to determine the exact ratio of full-length titles vs. singles / EP’s…and let’s not forget multiple disc sets! I have a 26CD boxed set (Sony’s “Music For A Century”) – it would certainly take more than a single day to get through that! Do the multiple disc sets cancel out titles that are merely EP’s?

I return to my idea of “The Perfect Collection”, an old chestnut. So, how big is that collection going to be? Certainly, it must be a ‘listenable’ size. But at only 3,650 titles per decade…I ask, “How big is the perfect collection?” I’ve tried to figure it out a few times, based upon my own meager collection – and the number of “perfect titles” always seems to fall at about 8,000 (i.e. it would still take 20+ years to play ‘em all, at one title per day!).

I have often complained about young, ignorant novice collectors bragging about their 25,000 title music collections. It’s taken me nearly 50 years to amass my 21,550 title collection. I am of the opinion that collectors pick the number 25,000 out of thin air – brother, if you had 25,000 records, you’d know it, buddy! They’d be all over your house, filling several rooms. Let me tell you, 25,000 titles is A LOT.

Without making the big commitment, how about if we swap a list of 365 “Perfect Collection” titles? You send me yours, I’ll send you mine. This sounds interesting – How many titles would be on both lists?

Yes, one must be a dexterous typist and devoted list-keeper to come up with an organized list of that size. The last big list I came up with was around 200 titles. When I have utilized the record-rating website, Gnosis2000, I only have 15 ‘perfect’ titles that rank 15 out of 15 – the majority of my rankings are at 10-13 out of 15. I tried to make 10 be the median, and have comparatively few rated below 10.

My list of 200 titles aired it’s dirty laundry in public as “This Website Has a Top 200”, so you can refer to that, if you wish – or I can send it to you.

I suppose the reason behind all this self-referential junk lately is realizing that I am about to turn 50 years of age. Freak out in a moonage daydream, oh yeah!

I did some math – taking into account multiple disc sets, singles etc…I have 9,723 full-length LP’s, 6,535 full-length CD’s…and 6,417 singles of varying formats (generally ranging from 1 – 4 songs, per disc). Further extrapolation: LP’s @ 40 min. per clock in at 6482 hours to play, CD’s @ 45 min. per clock in at roughly 4901 hours to play, and the singles rang from 4 – 8 minutes, generally speaking (@ 6 min per, 855 hours). Raw calculation, roughly 12,238 hours to play everything – 510 days! If I live to 50, I’ll have been alive 18,250 days – so maybe it isn’t unthinkable to listen to it all again?????????


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