So I’ve all but switched away from CDs, having completed a mammoth project to digitize all my CDs earlier this year. The CDs are now in storage. I ripped them to FLAC but then found that the best solution for me was probably iTunes with an iPod Touch as a remote. I won’t bore you with the details but it worked out pretty well.

Having finally ripped all the CDs (let’s forget about records here for a second, although they all still have pride of place in my living room), I was curious as to who the top artist would be. Serge, Astrud, Lalo, Scott, Ennio?

Finding out was actually a ridiculously long process. I tried one application that made me install lots of hideous Microsoft BS. I couldn’t get it to work and eventually wound up with a simple PHP/MySQL solution that’s probably no better than something I could have written myself. But the important thing is I didn’t have to write it myself!

Anyway, drum roll…

The top artists (ie by number of tracks) turned out as follows:

481 Ennio Morricone
298 The Beach Boys
288 Serge Gainsbourg
276 Julie London
255 Cal Tjader
225 Lalo Schifrin
201 Les Baxter
199 Scott Walker
198 Elis Regina
192 Marcos Valle
179 Duke Ellington
174 Antonio Carlos Jobim
173 Lee Hazlewood
164 Dusty Springfield
155 Esquivel
151 Astrud Gilberto
148 The Zombies
136 Hildegard Knef
127 John Barry
126 Peggy Lee
124 The Beatles
123 Pet Shop Boys
118 David Bowie
118 Petula Clark
115 Quincy Jones
115 Henry Mancini
115 Joy Division
114 Roy Budd
114 Pixies

There are of course a number of flaws to this method of analysis:
– It all depends on how many tracks the artist recorded. Looking at it that way it’s no surprise that Morricone is top or that the Smiths didn’t make the list, for example (they couldn’t have – barring me owning lots of live bootlegs with different track names!)
– The list seems skewed towards artists by whom I own box sets (Joy Division, Quincy Jones, Peggy Lee, Hildegard Knef, Zombies, Duke Ellington, Elis Regina. Beach Boys all fall under this category)
– It takes no account of listening habits.

If we were to take a look at a list of the top ten most listened to artists, it reveals a few things – e.g. that there’s now a baby in the house – hence lots of nice quiet music – plus I’m not around most days so another person’s choices are being reflected:

148 Julie London
125 Kahimi Karie
68 Novi Singers
67 Elis Regina
61 Pixies
57 ESG
46 blossom dearie
45 Collage
43 Sonic Youth
39 Blur
36 Gram Parsons
34 Astrud Gilberto
34 The Beatles
33 Baden Powell
32 Belle And Sebastian
32 Money Mark
30 Lou Reed
30 Siouxsie and The Banshees
30 Elis Regina e Jair Rodrigues
30 Peggy Lee
30 Bell Sisters
29 Cass Elliot
28 June Christy
26 Michael Jackson
26 Dusty Springfield
25 PJ Harvey
24 Minnie Riperton
24 Scott Walker
24 B.J. Ward
23 The Five Stairsteps

Fascinating stuff (or is it?)

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