Singing in the rain – literally

214 Gb.

I have 214 Gb of music, split between my laptop and my backup hard drive.  I’m sitting here, while it storms outside, again, amazed at how much music I’ve acquired over the years.  And even with that much music, I still don’t have some of my favorite songs in a digital format.

Because the music is trapped on LPs.

I made time this weekend to complete sorting through my music.  I’d already ripped the CDs I own onto my laptop, and over the last few years I’ve switched to buying most of my music in MP3 format courtesy of Amazon or the artist’s website.  Most of that music is stored on an external hard drive; I keep my favorite tunes on my laptop and my iPod, where I have playlists for every mood, occasion and season (I’m particularly fond of the winter playlist that accompanies my snowy rambles in Valley Forge Park).

I’ve slowly been shedding the CDs, selling them back to Secondspin.com, local second-hand stores and, now, as a trade-in for credit on Amazon.  I still have about 50, although 5 are off to Amazon and another 2 to Secondspin.  Most of the rest will be taken to a store this week, except for the ones I’ve chosen to keep, including the soundtracks to the Marvel movies.

Which leaves me with the LPs.  There were 162, but I’ve already got 64 in MP3s.  They’ll be listed on Craigslist tomorrow, leaving me with 98 LPs that somehow, someway, need to become MP3s.  I have several options:

  1. Buy a self-contained unit that plays the LP and automatically burns it to a CD.
  2. Buy a turntable with specialized software, connect it to my laptop, and convert to MP3 format on the laptop.
  3. Find a program, somewhere, that will convert the music, since I already own a turntable that probably could be connected to my laptop.

I’m leaning to the third option, as the least expensive.  But we’ll see.

You may be wondering — why am I bothering? A large number of those LPs are not available on a decent-quality, reasonably-priced CD or MP3 download.  Or they’re so obscure they never even were released to CD.  Albums from artists like Jon Butcher and Howard Jones, Real Life and all the import albums from The Who.  Oh, some of the songs can be gotten on ‘Best of’ CDs or as single MP3s, but in many cases, the song I liked the best was not the hit single, but an obscure track near the end of the album.  And those, you can’t get on a ‘Best of’ CD.

So I’ll go searching this week for a nice program.  Meanwhile, I’m still shaking my head over the variety of music I own.  It’s all over the map.

You see, I love, absolutely adore, music.  I can’t remember when I didn’t.  Maybe it started with Cinderella, the first movie I ever saw.  My parents bought me the LP, and I listened to it on their old player repeatedly.  Still have it, in fact.  My mother and grandmother fed the flames through their love of old Hollywood musicals, my cousin kept me up-to-speed on pop tunes, and when I was able to read sheet music, Mom sat me down at the piano so I could learn big band tunes and 1950’s ballads.

At school, I discovered classical music; I played viola in the school and town orchestras, sang in the high school chorus and even got a few lines in our production of Oliver!  And then I went to college, where I had my own, personal turntable that I didn’t have to share with anyone else.  I stocked up on LPs — pop, rock, metal.  Jazz was discovered through a visit to a dorm-mate’s home in Philadelphia.  By the time I moved to Massachusetts and took my first job, I needed four boxes just to carry the music.  It only got worse.  Blues and zydeco were added when I met a friend who’d grown up in New Orleans, and I fell hard for opera when a New York TV channel broadcast the complete Ring cycle.

Sorting that 214 Gb into categories, I have rock, alt, metal, new age, celtic, blues, jazz, opera, classical, swing, zydeco, Gypsy, show tunes, 1950’s ballads, some rap and even a bit of ‘classic’ country (I was made to listen to the same nine tunes from Willie Nelson on non-stop repeat during a 13-hour trip.  That experience may have made me a bit inclined to avoid country tunes.)

If I’d kept on getting that music in LP, or CD, I’d have run out of room.  However, thanks to the beauty of the computer-era, I can have as much music as I want, stored easily on a six-inch box, soon to migrate up to the cloud.

Unless, of course, that music is got on an LP.

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