I think I made the transition to .mp3 a lot later than most. Until 2005 I still mostly played and bought my music on CD’s. My stereo, with a 200 CD’s change attached to it, was still a better audio system than my computer with it’s tiny speakers and subwoofer. My absolute favorite CD’s though I had ripped onto my computer in .mp3 form and made copies of for more car so I wouldn’t damage the originals. When I wanted to play them on my computer I would use WinAmp. This memory might not be correct but I remember making a playlist that would sort them in playcount order that would update as I listened to them. I did this every once in awhile because it was difficult listening to songs a certain order on CD.
My taste in music would change and so would my iTunes library and every time iTunes would update it would revert the brackets you could sort your music by back to their original format. I would then go in and add Playcount back in. Sometimes that’s how I would listen to my music, in playcount order when shuffle would be kind of disappointing (as shuffle often is) and other times I would search for the tracks that had low play counts and give them a change. My computer was old, from 2002 and I didn’t really seek out upgrading that much. With Windows ME then XP on it I would often have to format the hard drive and reinstall everything then start my play count all over again.
Then inevitably, one day when looking at my sister’s iTunes on her old desktop I noticed a Top 100 Playlist and asked her how she got that. She explained what a Smart Playlist was and that was that. I made Top 100, 200, 300 Songs Playlist, Top 100 Stand-Up Comedy Tracks, Top 10 Radiohead Songs and etc. Still, I had a lousy computer, an unstable one. Finally, in 2011 my friend Dan convinced me to upgrade my computer. So I saved up money received from family members, income tax check and my own paychecks to finally upgrade my computer. Finally, I had a computer that I could keep a stable iTunes Library on where the play count would never reset.
It was so frustrating though that the play count wouldn’t go up when I listened to a song on my iPod Video and then my iPod Classic. That all changed when I got an iPhone. Now I have Top 300 Songs, Top 100 Stand-Up Comedy Tracks, Top 100 Soundtrack Songs, and the list is endless. All my plays on my phone sync up with my desktop.
Rationally, I know the amount of plays a song gets doesn’t affect how good of a song it is. If you think about it, the shorter the song the more likely it’ll reach the end before I skip it and thus increase the playcount. Other songs from artists I used to like before 2011 should be at play counts so high that what I currently listen to wouldn’t break the Top 100. Shuffle, not being random at all but just a organized way of playing songs in a different order tends to play certain track more often than others even when I don’t like them as much.
I do so enjoy though when I lose myself in new music then finding those new artist have broke my Top 300, 200, 100 and entered the top 50, 25 and 10. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look at the playlist sometimes choosing a song that I currently love that is at say one play less than a song I used to love and playing it twice just so it’ll rise in the ranks.
One day though, I’ll have a new computer where I’ll have to start over again and most likely all the songs currently with the highest play count will go back to zero, struggling against the music I am then currently listening to.