It drives me crazy when a new applet/plugin/dongle/whatever comes out and everyone must blog it immediately, because that's how teh internet goes, and the thing doesn't even really work. Take this Lifehacker post
from yesterday about Favtape.com
, a site that compiles your favorited, loved and otherwise affection-laden tracks from Last.fm, Pandora etc. Let's play the Andy Rooney Game
, and just take the first and last sentences:
Marking a song as "Loved" or a "Favorite" on music discovery apps like Last.fm and Pandora doesn't help you a whole lot when you want to hear them again. [Snip.] Some tracks might not actually play once loaded into Favtape, but it's a cool way to create an instant playlist of songs you'll definitely like.
So, in other words, Favtape "doesn't help you a whole lot when you want to hear them again," either. As the very first commenter notes, you can just create a station of favorites on Last.fm. Of course, there's another, lower-tech, glitch-free way to go about this.
It's called remembering what fucking songs you like.
Now, I love iTunes as much as the next person, but the program, on the whole, has shortened my musical attention span. I don't have any hard data to back that up, but—even though anecdotal evidence is a dangerous business—I will say that half the times I fire up iTunes, I put on an album and immediately start scrolling through my library. And often, I'll stop listening to what I'm listening to because I come across something I haven't heard in a while (or, just as likely, forgot that I even had in iTunes). Then the process repeats. I think the last album I listened to all the way through was Jailbreak
. And that was more than a week ago. Every other listening session has been a whip-around tour of my hard drive.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'll sit in front of my records and do roughly the same thing, just more slowly. And that's the difference: Something about the actual physical effort it takes to remove a record, put it back in its sleeve and put on another record is more relaxing, enjoyable and conducive to the appreciation of music than clicking scroll bars on the same machine you just used to watch a video of a panda sneezing. (Again, nothing wrong with that. Pandas are awesome.) It's kind of like the difference between sitting down at a restaurant and eating a meal made from scratch and eating at McDonald's. Using the drive-thru is undoubtedly faster, more efficient and scientifically formulated to make you no longer hungry. But which experience is more satisfying?
Now, I don't think there's a fundamental, irreconcilable difference between listening to music via iTunes and putting on records, nor am I making the argument that "kids these days" don't "really appreciate music" the way old crabby people do. Having a searchable archive of, well, just about anything, is a great tool. (Incidentally, I started rating songs using the iTunes star system, but stopped because it seemed like a waste of time.)
I just don't think it's that hard to remember what songs you like. Because if you can't remember liking a song, did you ever really