Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My music collection, by the numbers

I was at the San Carlos Library today prior to a meeting and perused the compact disc section. It got me musing -- for the first time in a while, it seemed there was nothing there I wanted to copy.

I've admitted in the past to occassionally borrowing a CD from the library and copying its contents. I'm not proud of the practice, but I'm also not going to pay $14.99 for a CD that I want one song from. I consider it a minor copyright violation sin on the level of photocopying a page out of a library book.

Of course, there are sites where you can legally download single songs, such as the iTunes Music Store,,, etc., and I routinely use them. With that in mind, I did a quick perusal of my iTunes music library (above) and tried to figure out approximately what percentage of my digital music came from what source.

The early very-rounded guesstimates:

65 percent copied from CDs belonging to me or my family;
15 percent copied from library discs;
10 percent from legitimate online music purchases;
10 percent from, er, illicit means (old Napster, etc.).

Of the library and "illicit" numbers, I consider that I legitimately own about a third of that 25 percent because I've downloaded/copied a lot of music that I actually paid for years earlier in the form of cassettes but never replaced with CDs. So I guess we can figure that about 16 percent of my music has not been paid for (there goes the political career!). But to be honest, if I didn't buy it legitimately, I probably wouldn't (or couldn't) have bought it anyway.

In the comments, I'd love to hear about what percentage of my readers' music collection is "valid."

On a side note, I'd like to note that I think the San Carlos Library is one of the best, if not the best, in San Mateo County. Great CD and DVD collections, large graphic novel collection (of which only 50 percent is manga) and a large study area. Everyone sings the praises of San Mateo's new library, but I prefer San Carlos.

1 comment:

Rob Roy said...

35% obtained from my own CD's
63% obtained illegally via Kazaa, almost all of which was in an attempt to collect most of the Billboard top ten songs for every year from 1955 to 2003. I'm just not an experimenter when it comes to music. Pop is Lord.
2% Amazon MP3 purchased.