My MP3 Collection

Camping in Canada Finally Digitized

Camping in Canada Finally DigitizedEight years ago, I shared the story of Camping in Canada, a Sesame Street cassette I thoroughly enjoyed in the early 80s. I knew the words to every song and just loved the story of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch attending a summer camp in Ontario.

Feeling nostalgic back in 2006 and wanting to hear Camping in Canada again, I found a vinyl copy in a little shop in Saskatoon and had my buddy Mofo dub it to cassette. I always intended to have it digitized to MP3, but never got around to it...

Then, yesterday afternoon, this comment from Swiss-Canadian Ignacio was published.


I came across your post in 2009, that is when I became a father. And I wanted my son to grow up with the same record I grew up with. So I bought a Vinyl on ebay and digitalized it to mp3s. I took my time with removing the vinyl sounds, and I think it came out great. If anybody wants the files, just ask me.

Cheers Ignacio (SwissCanuck)

Twenty minutes later, I had the MP3 of every song from Camping in Canada. Jarvis is going to love this...

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The Album Cover Makes A Comeback

cdThose old enough to remember vinyl records know how important the album cover used to be. Album covers could become iconic, an important part of the listening experience. 12.375 inches by 12.375 inches presented a lot of real estate to pack a punch.

Cassettes temporarily dulled the album cover because the size was so much smaller but I remember album covers mattering again when I started building up my CD collection in the late 80s and early 90s. You knew your music by these covers. Cover art was important.

About five years ago I decided to box up my CDs and go completely digital with my music collection. This transition, which I wrote about extensively in these entries, killed the album cover for me. Songs become intangible bits and bytes, audio that was transferred from one medium to another. The album cover art didn't come into play... at least not the way I organized my music.

Now, thanks to my new iPod Touch, the album cover has made a complete comeback in my life. A couple of years ago I sensed this day was coming and I started to embed album cover art into the .mp3's metadata. Now, when I sync my music to my iPod Touch, I can browse by album covers with a flick of my finger. This is fantastic... I browse and browse, coming face to face with album covers I thought I may never see again. Welcome back, Spencer Elden.


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$20,000 Fine For Ripping Your CD to MP3

cdIndustry Minister Jim Prentice introduced new copyright legislation that is meant to deal with "iPod Nation". There's a component of this new legislation that really has me concerned. It's has to do with the ripping of store-bought CDs to MP3.

I'm a ripping machine. For the past five years I've been digitizing music from legally purchased store-bought CDs. I personally place the CD in my drive and rip each track to MP3 as per my preferred specifications using a piece of software called Audiograbber. I even have a script that automatically updates this web page with the names and tracks from every disc I rip. If you want to read more about this passion of mine, check out my MP3 collection category.

This new legislation being introduced by our Conservative government will make it illegal to copy a compact disc or DVD to a personal digital device such as an iPod - even if a consumer has already paid for the CD or DVD – if it involves breaking a so-called digital lock to make the copy. People caught hacking digital locks would face penalties of up to $20,000.

$20,000 because you took the new Foo Fighters CD you bought at HMV and ripped it to MP3 for use on your iPod. That's some scary shit.

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More Albums in MP3

cdI used to write an update every time I updated my MP3 collection. I'd list the newly ripped albums and tally it all up.

I just did a massive update, but I don't have time to list what's new. I will tally things up, though. I'm now at 1744 complete albums which consumes 134GB and would take 72.6 days to hear.

While we're talking music, I've brought back my music profile after an eight month absence. Monitor what I'm listening to in real time at

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1623 Block Rockin' Beats

cdMy MP3 collection is a huge part of my life. It's in good shape right now, but it had a modest beginning. Let's step into the time machine and revisit this entry I wrote four years ago today.

DigitalizationI'm in the process of digitalizing my entire CD collection. Since I left behind good ol' cassette tapes for CDs back in the 80s, I've amassed hundreds of discs and kept them in various CD racks to I could easily access whatever I was in the mood for. Some time last week I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized I needed to digitalize my entire collection.

This is no small task. There was much to consider. What format did I want my songs stored in? Where would I store them? What's an acceptable bit rate? What software would I use to rip my CDs? I decided to rip them as MP3s with a bit rate of 128kbps. I'm using Audiograbber and BladeEnc's MP3 DLL to up the bit rate. I've decided not to rip every CD I own, merely the ones I may actually listen to from time to time. When it comes down to that CD with only one song I like, I'm only ripping the one song. I'm storing the MP3s on my home PC's 40GB hard drive until I save up enough to buy a 2nd hard drive of at least 120 GB that will be used for all my multimedia. If I run out of room before then, I'm going to archive my less frequently listened to tunes on CDRs. Once I've got every CD I care about ripped into MP3 and organized nicely on my new hard drive, I will be finished. With my entire collection digitalized, I can grab what I want for whatever purpose. I envision one day owning a portable MP3 player and even an MP3 player in my car. Until then, it's simple to create an audio CD with the songs I want. As I've written before, the compact disc as a medium is quickly becoming obsolete.

I've been ripping steadily for a few days now and I've only scratched the surface. It's going to be weeks before I'm finished this phase of the project. I've already taken all the CDs off the CD racks in the living room and moved them to the basement. When I'm complete, they will be stored away some place in case I ever require the source material again.

I should have done this long ago. The freedom this gives me is rather liberating. Hey, I want to hear Liberate from Disturbed. It's only a click away...

That was four years ago, but I remember those early ripping days. I ended up upping the bit rate to 192 and I did indeed store away all my CDs. I decided to rip every one of my CDs and then some. I haven't seen them since.

I've neglected the growth of my collection the past few months but I'm looking forward to adding to it over the next few weeks. 1623 albums and counting...

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Sometimes a List is Just a List

MP3sEvery once in a while I get an email from someone wondering how they can download the MP3s listed here. Arnaz just asked that question so I thought I'd spell it out for everyone.

For fun, I maintain a list of the 1600+ albums in my personal MP3 collection. As you'll see, you can drill down and see the individual tracks in each album. It's merely a collection of the song titles sorted by album and artist. I'm not actually hosting my collection on the web so there's no way for you to download the songs.

Back in the day when I used to have the guest blog form I received this rather angry guest blog from Bob who was pretty pissed that I'd list songs without hosting the MP3 files for anyone to grab. Here's how I responded back then and the same applies today, except now my collection is 130+ GB.

Bob, Bob, Bob. Don't you realize you'll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar? If you had nicely written me and told me what you were looking for, I would have been happy to help you any way I can. Instead, you chose to ball me out because I'm not hosting 30+ GB of copywritten files so ungrateful wastes of time like yourself can drain all of my bandwidth while pleasuring yourselves in the fruits of my labour.

Sometimes a list is just a list.

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My MP3 Collection Updated

CDI've added 348 new CDs to my MP3 collection. That's no typo. You can understand why I'm not about to list the new additions.

That's 1623 complete albums, 24605 individual songs and 66 days worth of uninterrupted tunes. Check it out.

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Duplicate Songs

musicWhen you've got 1275 discs ripped to MP3, you're going to have some duplicate songs. iTunes makes it easy to isolate these dupes, so I can tell you that if I just played such songs I could could listen non-stop for eight days. As a random example, I have The Tragically Hip's "Gus: The Polar Bear From Central Park" on In Between Evolution, Yer Favourites and the 92nd Grey Cup Commemorative CD.

You might be able to guess where I'm going with this. What song is repeated the most often in my collection? That song is "Black" by Pearl Jam which appears on 11 albums. Upon further review, a number of Pearl Jam songs appear 8, 9 and 10 times due to the many official bootlegs they've released recently. That's not really fair, is it?

If I disqualify live recordings, the song that appears on the most albums in my collection is "Respect" by Aretha Franklin. It appears five times on the following discs.

  • The Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame Box Set
  • Aretha Franklin's 30 Greatest Hits
  • Akeelah and the Bee Soundtrack
  • The Ultimate Soul Collection
  • Forrest Gump Soundtrack

I've also got a copy of the Otis Redding original.

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 10 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are...

  • k-os - Atlantis: Hymns for Disco
  • Tegan and Sara - If It Was You
  • Various Artists - Garden State Soundtrack
  • Various Artists - The Kings of Hip Hop (Discs 1 & 2)
  • The Irish Rovers - The Best Of The Irish Rovers
  • Corinne Bailey Rae - Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Stompin' Tom Connors - 25 of the Best Stompin' Tom Souvenirs
  • Tom Cochrane & Red Rider - Trapeze (Discs 1 & 2)

That's 1275 complete albums, 19738 individual songs and 52.6 days worth of uninterrupted tunes. Check it out.

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 33 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are...

  • Band of Horses - Everything All The Time
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder
  • Roberts, Sam - Chemical City
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
  • Weakerthans, The - Left and Leaving
  • Weakerthans, The - Reconstruction Site
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium [Jupiter]
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium [Mars]
  • Flaming Lips, The - At War With The Mystics
  • Oasis - Definitely Maybe
  • Oasis - Be Here Now
  • Brand New - Deja Entendu
  • Poison - Poison's Greatest Hits 1986-1996
  • The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
  • My Morning Jacket - Acoustic Citsuoca
  • My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves
  • My Morning Jacket - Z
  • Joel Plaskett Emergency - La De Da
  • Joel Plaskett Emergency - Truthfully Truthfully (Disc 1)
  • Joel Plaskett Emergency - Truthfully Truthfully (Disc 2)
  • Joel Plaskett Emergency - Down At The Khyber
  • Various Artists - Arts & Crafts - Adventures in Advertising
  • GnarlsBarkley - St Elsewhere
  • Gryner, Emm - Public
  • Gryner, Emm - The Original Leap Year
  • Gryner, Emm - Asianblue
  • Gryner, Emm - Science Fair
  • Gryner, Emm - Girl Versions
  • Gryner, Emm - Dead Relatives
  • Gryner, Emm - The Great Lakes
  • Gryner, Emm - The Summer of High Hopes
  • Coheed and Cambria - In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3
  • Coheed and Cambria - Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness

That's 1265 complete albums, 19559 individual songs and 52.1 days worth of uninterrupted tunes. Check it out.

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