Non-Exclusiveness and the Hierarchy of Songs (and Wealth)

Well, Ketchikan Underground is up and running again and this blog is still alive. You see, this blog only exists because KU died, (see here) and my desire to write online was transferred from forum rants and flame wars to blogging (definitely a good change, I think). When I started hearing about KU starting up again I kind of worried about this place. I knew I would get back into the forum (albeit with much more mature imput now) and so I thought I might not have so much to write on here any more. Now that KU has been officially going for a few days and I've spent quite a bit of time on it, I've realized there is no way my postings on KU and the Publisher are mutually exclusive. In fact, since I'm now going to be staying away from posting crazy political rants or any long-winded pieces whatsoever on KU now, those can all still go here along with more personal things I wouldn't put on a forum anyways. A forum is, after all, a place for discussion, and this blog has always been  just one long monologue of unchallenged contentions and personal updates. It's certainly something I'll still do.

Also, a thanks goes out to all of you from KU who have read some of this. I know many of you have visited, but my traffic-tracker doesn't measure how long you spend here. This would be "Ketchikaaner" far more up-close-and-personal than you'll see him on KU - but I'm sure you know that. Now for my other topic.

The last few days I've been finally bringing my music collection on this laptop up to par. I got it months ago but it still doesn't have all the songs that are on the big ancient desktop my family has. Today and yesterday I added music including the songs "If I Had a Rocket Launcher," and "Free Fallin'," along with songs from Toto and Tracy Chapman and a lot of Christmas music. Even without all these recent additions, however, there definitely exists a type of heirarchy to songs a person listens - and it's seen very clearly on my iTunes.

I currently have 1765 songs on my iTunes. When I rank them according to play count, the list becomes an astonishing exponential drop-off. My most-played song has been played 94 times; by the fifth, the play count is down to 59. The 25th most-played song has a count of 38, and it keeps going down from there. For the first bit, basically every number was unique. Soon after, however, there are long series of songs that have been played 12 times, 8 times, 4 times. If you look at the scrollbar on the side, the 1's start when I'm about a fifth of the way down the list. The songs I've only played once go on for quite a while until about 40% of the way down. All the rest of the songs I've never fully played.

Now take into consideration that I haven't done too much with my iTunes on this computer, but the same is true with that old desktop too. I don't listen to music all that much either, but all the same I think this same phenomenon can be found in other people's music listening as well. Basically, I must conclude...

The distribution of play counts in people's music is like the distribution of wealth on earth.

That's just in the United States. Look at this cartogram of absolute poverty (people living on under $1 a day).

The truth is the vast majority of the world subsists on means we can hardly imagine - but even in our richest of countries there is mass inequality. Please go to this past article of mine to see even more, and then ask yourself this:

How can this be justified?


  1. I organized iTunes by play count, and found that the only songs I haven't played all the way through are from the AcDc music CD.

    I fail.

  2. Yeah I guess I'm dumb enough to add lots of songs to my iTunes I never listen to... oh well.


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