Have you ever downloaded a song from iTunes and thought – damn, that’s one short song. Was that really worth the 99 cents or did I just get ripped off? After all, in today’s down economy, you can’t afford to waste your money on just any old song. Wimpy little two and three minute songs songs just don’t add enough value anymore. And, for that matter, neither do 5 minute songs. Frankly, I’m done with anything under 6 minutes.
The iTunes Value Maximization Framework:
First: To fully realize your investment, make sure your picks are at least 7 minutes long, preferably more. That’s not to say length is everything. You’ve got to add a little substance too. And, watch out for really lengthy self-indulgent tracks. Take Marais la Nuit from Neko Case’s album Middle Cyclone, for example. I’m sorry, but the next time I want to hear crickets chirping for 31 minutes, I’ll go outside, thank you very much. It’s technically not a song and I’m a purist, so I’m treating this one as an outlier and taking it out of the average cost per minute (ACM) for my collection.
Second: Delete all the shorter songs in your library. Trust me, you don’t need them. Two minutes goes by really fast. That’s less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee, get the mail or eat an ice cream cone. And, as you age, time goes faster anyway — so if Stairway to Heaven seemed long to you in high school, give it another chance. It’s a lot speedier today. Really.
Third: Pledge to check your downloads each and every week. Don’t forget this step. It’s very important to keep the integrity of your music collection intact and not let any low value songs sneak into the mix. Kind of like the Farenheit 451 of iTunes collection management — just burn ’em.
To help you get started, I’m sharing some of my personal picks below. While not necessarily the definitive list on the subject, I guarantee that these songs will help you lower your ACM:
- Land of Hope and Dreams (Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Live in New York City) Length 9:46
- Can’t You Hear Me Knocking (Rolling Stones – Live Licks) 10:02
- Disco Inferno (The Trammps – Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack) 10:51
- Movin Right Along (Michael Stanley Band – Stagepass) 9:35
- Elegant Gypsy Suite (Al DiMeola – Elegant Gypsy) 9:16
- D.M.S.R (Prince – 1999) 8:17
- Taboo (Charlie Byrd – The Guitar Artistry of Charlie Byrd) 9:41
- Groove Line (Disco Version) (Heat Wave – Best of Heat Wave) 7:29
- Riviera Paradise (Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble – In Step) 8:48
- I Want Your Sex (George Michael – Faith) 9:04
Special mention: Do You Feel Like I Do (Peter Frampton) (The best versions of this song clock in at 19:28 on Frampton Comes Alive II and at 14:17 on Frampton Come Alive. Imagine what type of impact that could have! Unfortunately, you can only get them by purchasing the entire album. Note to Apple iTunes: what’s up with that?)
Important note: Older songs, such as these listed above, generally provide even more value because presumably you’ve already heard them, which contributes to reducing the cost per listen (CPL). That’s a complicated subject – so a future post will outline in detail how to lower your CPL, complete with step-by-step illustrated instructions.
Much credit goes to @fitzroy for bringing this extremely important subject to my attention.
What are your picks? :-)