How do YOU keep your music? if your collection consists of two Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtracks and Dark Side of The Moon, then this does not affect you. If you can’t remember where the CDs are because you listen to Spotify and Last.fm, then this does not affect you. But if you have hundreds of CDs, and are always looking for the one you want to hear, or looking for any one you might want to hear, then this does affect you.
It should have been easy. Alphabetic sequence. Job done. BUT,.. there are complications. There’s a separate place for jazz CDs. And classical CDs. And recently bought CDs that I’m playing a lot. And world music. And blues. And various artist sampler CDs. Wait a minute, does Joe Zawinul come under jazz or world? does Penguin Cafe Orchestra come under jazz or classic or pop? what is the difference between pop and rock? Do film soundtracks go with the various artists sampler CDs?
And the classical CDs – are they in sequence by composer or by performer? Aha! I had a great idea for Classical CDs, I realise that I recognise them primarily by the colour of the spine. So I put them in colour sequence! Then I thought for a moment I might do that for the pop/rock CDs too! And the shelf looked more attractive in the room too!
But now I have an iPod Touch with an app that controls the laptop, which sends digital music files to the DAC in the Hi-Fi. So all I see is a list. and I always see the same six CDs at the beginning of each letter of the alphabet. I was not expecting this. I am now doing a database search through identical looking strings of text. The right-brain emotional connections have been hidden.
In the old days every piece of music had a cover and the artefact had history. There was that CD that a friend gave me; one that I borrowed but lost touch with the owner; one that is old and worn, and I bought when I was on holiday; one with a broken case, one where the CD always falls out, and one that I can never find because the spine is blank. A case with no CD in it! I liked all of that.
How can we restore the natural interface between man and musical media, now that the computer has taken over?