You can playlist your life.

It’s a bit of a childhood memory: in the days before a trip I used to spend hours in front of a cassette recorder sampling the latest taste of music. I would steal my older brother’s CDs, go through old tapes, wait for the right moment on the radio when they play the song. Over the years, I ended up with cupboards full of countless tapes, all carefully labelled, samplers and albums alike. That for me were the 90s.

Then came mp3s and CD burners. The concept of sampling remained the same, just in electronic form. Peer-to-peer was still legal-ish and networking in a student residence proved to be an enormous source for music. I’d end up with a library full of CDs, more or less carefully labelled.

Today things are messy. I believe it only seems easier to keep track of a music library. There’s more music around, available anywhere and anytime, consequently the half-life of music lessens. It appears that life in general has become so fast-paced that we don’t appreciate things as much as we used to. That’s almost reflected in my music library: if my iTunes was a record and tape shelf – I’d run berserk. How convenient that iTunes is tucked away in a corner of my messy computer! (I will refrain from comparing my computer to a real life equivalent. I’d probably be something close to a landfill.)

Some things never change, though. I’m going on a trip, so I sample music. The challenge has changed: I won’t have to worry about an extra suitcase for tapes; it all fits on Zwerg, my 4 gig iPod. Instead, the task is “merely” to arrange music. (I should mention that through thoughtless cut and copy and fiddling with computers, hard drives and external storage devices my iTunes gave up a few weeks ago. Too much music in its library that couldn’t be traced. Just voided the entire library.)

Tonight I finally tackled the problem. I managed to compile a music libray from what I have on CDs and as mp3. I was moving data from C to i. However, the mission was accomplished, with a very clear idea of appreciating what I have. Sometimes less is more.

What’s interesting is that I have gone through a playlist of my life. Almost every song or collection of songs is associated with a particular phase in my life. Others have dubbed this to be a “soundtrack of their lives”. Quite to the point, actually. There are very few songs that I have listened to through two decades. So tonight was a bit like travelling through time.

Not everything is bad with modern technology. Playlists are brilliant – when you know how to use them.

Playlisted my life.