How To Cull Your Music Library

I have a lot of music for somebody not involved in the music industry. At least, I think so. Is over 5,000 songs a lot? I like music. I like a lot of music. But I don’t like all music all the time. My tastes evolve. And yet my iTunes library stores everything.

So I’ve decided to go through my iTunes library. And I’m not just scrolling through, guessing what I’m still into or totally over. I’m letting the music speak to me. It’s taking a while, but I’m listening to every song, multiple times, and tracking how many times I actually want to listen to it.

Here’s what I’m doing:

Experiencing the A to Z Anthology of my music library. If listening to every single song on your iPod in alphabetical order sounds like a daunting task, maybe you should consider culling your music library. I started at A back in June 2015. It is now January 2016 and I’m up to T. Every time I skip a song because I actually don’t want to hear it, I mark it with a star via the iTunes rating system.

When I’ve completed the first step of this process, I will move on to:

Experiencing my music library by Album. I will listen to every album I have. Probably in alphabetical order to continue with the A to Z theme. Again, every time I skip a song because I actually don’t want to hear it, I mark it with a star.

Then I plan to move on to:

Experiencing my music library by Artist. I will listen to the entirety of my music collection yet again, this time alphabetically by artist, adding a star to any song I skip.

Periodically, I will sync my iPod with my iTunes to see if there are any albums or artists collecting a lot of stars even before I’m done with the entire 3-part process. If I see any trends, I will use my own discretion of whether I want to cull any of those songs, albums, or artists. Culling as I go will make listening to my entire library easier and more enjoyable.

It may take me a while, but so far I’m enjoying this process. I’m hearing songs that I didn’t even know I had and enjoying them a lot. I’m also finding myself wondering why I ever even added certain albums. Or that I’ve just moved on from an artist and that their music just isn’t jiving my cup of tea anymore.

It’s been fun and interesting. And it’s just nice to know that I’m actually listening to all of my music, not just letting it sit there, taking up space and not adding value to my life.

If you find yourself overwhelmed with your own music library, be it digital or otherwise, maybe this method (or a non-digital version of it) will be a good way for you to work through it. It’s been working quite well for me so far.


Edited later to add: I didn’t have a lot of music… this guy had a lot of music!

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