Junk songs wasting space
January 17, 2007 5:41 PM   Subscribe

I have too many junk songs as a part of a compilation or a soundtrack or an album with a couple of good songs. On one hand I dont wanna break up the album, on the other, I don't want to waste space. What should I do? What do you do?
posted by riffola to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Assuming you're talking about an mp3 player, space is cheap, especially on players that use 2.5" drives. Rip everything, keep it all, and use various playlists that range between complete and best-only.

Another option that I'm currently trying out is having two mp3 players - one is a top notch hard-drive-based player with mega storage that has everything, plus photo storage, USB drive stuff, etc. The other is a cheap ipod shuffle, with only a gig to play with, it has nothing but favourites on it. If I'm going on a lengthy trip, take the main player. If I'm going somewhere briefly, or travelling somewhere where my stuff could easily get stolen, I take the ipod.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:49 PM on January 17, 2007

Response by poster: I am talking about songs on the computer which of course is the superset of songs on the MP3 player. Also space is not as big a concern as needing to skip songs while listening to music on shuffle is.
posted by riffola at 5:52 PM on January 17, 2007

I keep the music, on the off chance someone wants to hear it, it gets stuck in my head and I need to purge, or for those "tip of the tongue" moments. Depending on your music player/software you can skip it a variety of ways. In iTunes you just unselect a box or rank them with one star and use smart playlists.

I think part of the fun of listening to music on shuffle is the inevitable embarrassing 80's song that makes all your friends give you funny looks as you sing along.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 5:54 PM on January 17, 2007

I have been trying to organize my music collection, and I haven't entirely succeeded, but this is what i may end up doing.

I am something of a completeist, and I like having the whole album. So I'll probably end up with ALL my music on a big external hard drive, in folders by album. Then, for albums where I only ever really listen to one track, I'll copy that into a "singles" folder. Then on my mp3 player, I'll copy the albums where i like the whole album, and the "singles" folder. This way the crappy album tracks wont come up on shuffle, but the album still exists in its entirety when and if I want it.

I know this isn't technically "saving" space, since it involves duplicating songs, but as mentioned above, space is cheap.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:55 PM on January 17, 2007

If you're the type of person who's driven nuts by an incomplete album, then you're stuck with the junk songs. I personally have a folder specifically for odds and ends; that one song you downloaded off an mp3 blog, the oscar meyer jingle, and the one addictively catchy song off that crappy album. I'm not a completist or a collector, though.
posted by Juliet Banana at 5:57 PM on January 17, 2007

In that case, it takes some work initially, but huge playlists of the good songs only (hundreds of songs), and then play one of those mega-playlists on shuffle rather than the entire library on shuffle. If your preferred software doesn't support playing a playlist on shuffle, then randomize the playlist, save it, randomize it again, save it, etc, to make pre-shuffled playlists. (An advantage of which is that you can go back to that song three songs back, something that many randomizing-on-the-fly shuffles won't give you).

A lot of software these days also does smart-playlists, which involve things like having you rate songs, and those songs with a poor rating will be less likely to be picked by the shuffle. I haven't gotten around to doing that stuff though, I'm sure others will have more info.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:00 PM on January 17, 2007

I use iTunes and I just uncheck everything that I don't want to hear regularly. But I never delete - because, as JeremiahBrit said, there's always that chance that I'll want it. So I have literally several hundred songs in my library that are not checked. My iPod is set to only synch checked songs, and of course the unchecked songs are skipped in iTunes. Also, all of my smart playlists are set to only use checked songs. For me it's a good solution.
posted by crapples at 6:08 PM on January 17, 2007

I keep everything, on the basis that you never know when some crappy song will come up in conversation and you feel the urge to listen to it, just the once. Or maybe someone with, erm, special taste may be around.

Amarok seems to do a decent job of rating everything and not playing the crap.

Of course, I am a bit of a completist, and also keep, eg 10 mixes of You Showed Me...
posted by pompomtom at 6:31 PM on January 17, 2007

I use a similar strategy as crapples does, using the checkbox in iTunes to indicate what should be skipped during playback and what doesn't get transferred to my iPod. Similarly, you can get a lot of cataloging utility out of the 1 - 5 star rating system (if you want to take the time), treating the stars as an additional flagging mechanism.

As for saving HD space on the computer, I've actually had a few soundtracks where I wanted to have the entire track listing (for reference and completeness sake), but couldn't stand some of the songs and couldn't even bear the thought of them infecting my other music with their complete craptitude. So I would delete the actual .mp3 and create a dummy file with the track information in the filename. 0 bytes, doesn't play in any player, but I can see the entire track listing and remember, "Oh yeah, there's that frickin' track #4, which I'll never have to hear again."
posted by krippledkonscious at 6:34 PM on January 17, 2007

I show no mercy. I have a few compilations that range from utter mind-rotting crap to stellar masterpieces, and I only keep the masterpieces. I have the crap on the original CD, and it would take all of four seconds to convert them to MP3 later if I wanted. I want to use the space for music I like, dammit!

Of course, if you're downloading albums online from iTunes or whatever, you can just do the reverse - burn the MP3s you don't like to a CD or DVD.
posted by Jilder at 6:35 PM on January 17, 2007

Harlequin mentioned smart playlists and ratings above - and I think that's the way to go. iLounge has a lot of discussion of smart playlists and you can probably get some good ideas there. Merlin Mann also had some cool smart playlists on his 43Folders site.

Maybe you could rate all the junk songs 1 star, and use a smart playlist that only plays songs with 0 or 2-5. That way you're "opting out" the junk, so you don't have to "opt-in" by rating every song in your library.

You can also run smart playlists with play count as a criteria, you could tell it not to play songs with zero plays.
posted by altcountryman at 7:59 PM on January 17, 2007

I use the rating system, along with the un-checking method, to sync only what I want in iTunes. Namely:
  1. star: I actively dislike it- it's the 11 really bad songs on an album I downloaded for the one good song. Never want to hear it on the go, or really ever
  2. stars: I explicitly consider it sub-par, but worth keeping around and in shuffle (stuff like the lesser songs on a "best of the 80's" collection that are annoying 90% of the time, but occasional seem just right, or fun in a party mix where people can laugh at it a little too)
  3. stars: Default rating if I'm unsure- otherwise, if I have a somewhat negative reaction, I make it 2 stars. Somewhat positive, 4 stars. Extreme in either way is 1 or 5 stars.
  4. stars: solidly good tune, may not be perfect for all occasions, but definitely well above average. Those classic 80's songs that, when you're in the mood for them, rock you out go here.
  5. star: always a classic, never goes out of style, always happy to hear it. The best of the best, songs that personal feeling
Naturally I have a playlist explicitly for each star rating, as well as 0/unrated (which are just the songs I haven't gotten around to rating).

Roughly speaking, the 1 and 5 star songs should each be about 5% of my total music, the 2 and 4 star songs about 15-20% each, and everything else is in the muddled middle. I occasionally queue up the 1-star and 5-star lists to see if my opinion has changed (it usually does, a little).

This makes it easy to sync only the 2 and up groups in iTunes: occasionally I simply highlight all, right-click and "Check selection", and then go to a special "1-star" smart playlist and uncheck them as a group. Next time I sync, my ipod is purged of all undesirable material. In addition, the ipod smart playlist can be set to only play checked material- so since your 1-stars are already unchecked, it also means stuff in your iTunes will skip over the really bad stuff both on the go and at home.

I also smart playlists for specific artists that I like, that filter to 3 stars and above, so I have a running "best of" for my favorite artists, and I like to use the little-used "play count" feature in a smart playlist, so that the songs I've played too often actually get dropped out of rotation, and thus give more time to the songs I haven't paid attention to as much.
posted by hincandenza at 8:06 PM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

iTunes: I rate the really awful stuff 1 star, and delete that once in a while because of space issues. The stuff that I want to keep as part of an album but not hear is 2 stars, and I only ever listen to anything 3 stars or up.
posted by easternblot at 8:19 PM on January 17, 2007

I just check the option in iTunes (in the song info dialogue) that says "skip during party shuffle". I do this for things that are either too short or too annoying to hear during shuffle. It doesn't delete the songs, it just hides them unless I have asked it specifically to play the entire album. All of the songs are still transferred to my iPod, they just get skipped over in a party shuffle mode.

This doesn't work with a regular shuffle though - for that I have shuffled playlists for specific genres, and had to manually remove said tracks from the playlists. PITA but it was worth the effort. Really wish that a "shuffled playlist" in iTunes was interpreted as "randomize this list of songs every time I choose this playlist" rather than the static arrangement it really is... why this is treated differently than party shuffle is beyond me.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:12 PM on January 17, 2007

i disagree with every other answer.
delete without hesitation.
the jopy of music is in the moment,
not in saving and catalogues and studying it etc.
there are so many songs out there.
don't settle for structure, delete it and move on
posted by edtut at 12:44 AM on January 18, 2007

I use a system close to hincandeza except that, as I hate and feel constrained by the lack of granularity that comes with a 5 star system (as opposed to a 10 star), I shift everything down one star (with the basis that there is enough good music out there somewhere that I don't need to hang on to anything less that 1 star) and reserve the 5th star for songs that I never get tired of/make me a little misty eyed when I hear them because they are just that damn good.

As for how to deal with the junk songs in an album, if I can't make a case to keep them (that is, I never want/can't see myself wanting to hear them again or they piss me off) I gut the album -- songs I want to keep have the "album" name changed to "loose", with the actual album they came from listed in the comments field and the rest of the album is deleted.

Really, it comes down to why would you squander your time on the junk -- would you rather waste your time listening to songs you've previously determined to be crap or spend that time finding new stuff that could turn out to be 4-5 star music?
posted by The Bishop of Turkey at 6:12 AM on January 18, 2007

I' jsut finished culling the crap out of my large music collection. It took a few eeks, but almsot no effort. Here's what I did:

I set up a smart playlist to send 150 unrated songs to my nano. (150 worked best for me) Then every day I listen to my iPod and when I hear a song I wouldn't miss if I never heard them again I rate it with 1 star. If I want it in my collection, I give it three, or more.

Later I go through my library and delete all the 1-star songs.

I'm not going to give advice on putting them into playlists because that all personal preference.
posted by Ookseer at 7:06 PM on January 18, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for some great suggestions everyone! I'm still undecided about which way I want to go, but I do know I'm tired of songs I don't like coming on during shuffle.

Thanks again!
posted by riffola at 7:29 PM on January 18, 2007

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