Sunday, 4 March 2012

iTunes/iPhone Song Shuffle

I thought I would do something for fun rather than write another 3,000 word essay.

I've seen a lot of people play a little game called iPod shuffle before where they have to admit the first 10 songs their iPod (or similar music listening device) play when on random shuffle mode and list them to show how bad their taste in music is. I thought I would take the game a little further and make a bit of an experiment of it; because although I have around 650 songs on my iPhone, I have over 8,000 songs in my iTunes library; thus offering the chance of a much wider (or bizarre) choice of music.

Over Xmas I spent quite a lot of time organising my iTunes library, filling it with music, sorting everything in folders, by artists and groupings etc etc. I had acquired a lot of music during my DJing days; but so much of it was a mess, it needed a proper organising.

So, in theory, taking the first 30 songs randomly played by shuffle in both libraries should in the iTunes library show a bias towards sheer number of songs by a certain artist that I have, and in the iPhone library actually reflect what I tend to listen to. Well, that's the theory anyway.

So, let's see what happenned.

iTunes Library - 8063 Songs

1Blitzkrieg Garage IncMetallica
2Sleeping In My Car Crash! Boom! Bang! Roxette
3Dancing In The Street Diver Down Van Halen
4When It's Love OU812 Van Halen
5Looking for Romance Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic Disney Studio Chorus
6Related Buckcherry Buckcherry
7Give Me Novacaine American Idiot Green Day
8Let it Rock Slippery When Wet Bon Jovi
9Paint it Black Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock Rolling Stones
10Ray - Mama Odie (Intrumental) The Princess & The Frog Randy Newman
11Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo Guitar Hero 2: Soundtrack Rick Derringer
12Exiter Box Set Kiss
13Love Hungry Man Highway to Hell AC/DC
14Are We Dancing Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic Lesley Ann Warren and John Davidson
15Your House Jagged Little Pill (Acoustic) Alanis Morissette
16Robert Says Goodbye (Instrumental) Enchanted Alan Menken
17Heed our Warning Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Score)Steve Jablonsky
18Learn to Fly There is Nothing Left to Lose Foo Fighters
19Perry Mason Theme Made in America Blues Brothers
20Calling Dr Love The Very Best of Kiss Kiss
21Time (2003 Promo) Avenue Q UK Cast of Avenue Q
22Bibbidi - Bobbidi - BooClassic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic Verna Felton
23Helicopter Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock Bloc Party
24There's Gonna Be Some Rockin' Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap AC/DC
25Blackbird Glee: The Warblers Glee Cast
26Two Sides of the Coin Unmasked Kiss
27Not a Dry Eye in the House Welcome to the Neibourhood Meat Loaf
28Life is a Highway Cars Soundtrack Rascal Flats
29Knockin on Heaven's Door Use Your Illusion 2 Guns N' Roses
30Green Hell New Skulls for the Old Ceremony Metallica

So what can I say about the first 30 songs as chosen by iTunes?

Well, out of the 30, I only know 12 of the songs and only 2 or 3 of the songs have ever made it out of the library and onto an iPod or iPhone. So I certainly wouldn't say that this selection is representative of my music choices. As I theorised before, this list mostly comes down to which band's discogaphies are the largest (even if I don't listen to them) and both Kiss and AC/DC rleased a lot of albums. 5 songs (17%) being Disney is pretty representative of my library, but I am surprised there is absolutely nothing by my favourite band Counting Crows or by Cirque Du Soleil; both of which have a decent presence in my library.

Overall, this wouldn't be a song list that I would want to sit and listen to; even though it's straight from my own library. But this does not suprise me hugely as I know there is a lot of music in my library that I only have because of my DJing days, from Tara's music choices, or because I liked selected tracks either by an artist or on a particular album and thus inherited loads that I don't even know along with them. While obvioulsy mathematically possible, the odds were against 30 songs I like being chosen out of over 8,000.

But that shouldn't be the case with the 30 songs randomly played by my iPhone because I've already condensed the 8,000 down to the 656 songs that I have chosen to be on there. Now admittedly, because I am lazy, music selection often ends up on my iPhone by Album or Artist and not on song by song basis; so there are songs on there which I don't like that much and have just been grouped in because they are on albums that generally I really do like.

But overall speaking, a shuffle of 30 songs here should give a pretty good representation of my music tastes.

iPhone Library - 656 Songs

1Arrival Tron: Legacy Daft Punk
2Deuce Greatest Hits Kiss
3Rain King Films About Ghosts Counting Crows
4Hero of the Day Load Metallica
5Never Before, Never AgainMuppet Movie Miss Piggy
6Save A Prayer Keep the Faith Bon Jovi
7Sunday Morning Coming Down Soul's Core Shawn Mullins
8You're Crazy Appetite for Destruction Guns N' Roses
9Bad Medicine Crossroad Bon Jovi
10Blame it on the Love of Rock & Roll Keep the Faith Bon Jovi
11Don't Cry Use Your Illusion 1 Guns N' Roses
12My Nemesis Phinease & Ferb-ulous: The Ultimate Album Danny Jacob
13End It On This Tragic Kingdom No Doubt
14When I See An Elephant Fly The Best Disney Album In The World...Ever! Cliff Edwards and the Hall Johnson Choir
15Do You Love Me Greatest Hits Kiss
16Do You Love Me The Blues Brothers Complete Blues Brothers
17This Ain't A Love Song These Days Bon Jovi
18Bad Obsession Use Your Illusion 1 Guns N' Roses
19Just A Girl Tragic Kingdom No Doubt
20Chains On Me Phinease & Ferb-ulous: The Ultimate Album Dan Povenmire
21Better Chinese Democracy Guns N' Roses
22Insignificant Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings Counting Crows
23Mary Fumbling Towards Ecstacy Sarah McLachlan
24Dude (Looks Like a Lady) Big Ones Aerosmith
25Circle Fumbling Towards Ecstacy Sarah McLachlan
26Jack and Sally Montage The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack Danny Elfman
27There's A Platypus Controlling Me Phineas & Ferb Across the 2nd Dimension Dr Doofenschmirtz
28Armory Tron: Legacy Daft Punk
29I Had A Dream The Soul Sessions Joss Stone
30I'm Lindana And I Wanna Have Fun Phinease & Ferb-ulous: The Ultimate Album Lindana

That wasn't the selection I was expecting. 

Firstly, out of 656 songs, it choses two songs named "Do You Love Me" by different artists back to back; how is that statistically likely??

4 songs by Bon Jovi? I've done the math and only 6% of my iPhone library is Bon Jovi, yet shuffle has brought them back 13% of the timeand its exacly the same stats for Phineas and Ferb. The Tron Legacy soundtrack, Sarah McLachlan and No Doubt were obvioulsy a popular choice for shuffle as while only representing 3% or less of the library there were brought back 7% of the time; and Kiss again managed to get a good presence even though they represent very little of the library.

Guns N' Roses and Counting Crows both came up a few times and at least this is a little representative of the library as they are two largest constituents; but Aerosmith and Blues Brothers were very misrepresented while Imelda May didn't get chosen once despite being 4% of the library.

So was this a better respresentation of my music choices? Well, I would happily listen to this playlist; although I would probably be tempted to reach for the skip song button on 7 of the songs. Overall, I would say the artists and albums represent my choices, but that's no surprise because I did choose them. In almost all cases these are not the songs from said artist or album that I would have chosen to listen to, nor are the quantities in balance; which probably explains why I do reach for the skip button so often.

Therefore, In conclusion; Shuffle Sucks!!

Speak Soon :)

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