What's in YOUR iPod?

Bizcptmusipodlounge2oc 4,318 songs, two books on tape, all paid for.

Well, some free, actually - iTunes giveways, Mp3 blog goodies, dupes of Inquirer dumpster diving finds. Oh yeah, a few songs ripped by my I'm-spending-$40,000-for-college-so-music-should-be-free nephew. A lot paid for, anyway. Most.

I do this accounting of my relative honesty after reading a clever bit of sleuthing by Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing. He found a 14-month old Downhill Battle Website that does a little figuring to shatter any illusions about where people are getting their music.

As of April 15 [2004], Apple had sold roughly 60 million iTunes and 3 million iPods. That's about 21 songs per iPod. For perspective, the smallest iPods hold 1,000 songs, and some hold 10,000 songs. So, when people fill up those iPods, where does all the music come from?

This bit a realism comes on the well-trodden heels of widely reported study by the NPD Group that identified Apple's for-pay iTunes as the 2nd most-popular digital music service, tying with the free Limewire, a peer-to-peer service. WinMX, also free, topped the charts at 2.1 million households.

The math sounds strange, given I always thought most people were quite happy to pinch their music. For these sorts of puzzles I usually turn to Eric Garland, who runs BigChampagne, a company that has been measuring file-sharing since the final days of the original Napster. His figures: while paid downloads soared to 140.9 million tracks last year, since mid-2003 19 billion files have changed computers. 19 billion!

Posted 06/15/2005 12:13:14 PM

Ripped CDs? I have about half of the music on my iPod from albums where I own the actual physical CD and ripped it (I'm ripping more this weekend). I bought some albums off of iTunes, maybe 6... Jimi Hendrix Blues, Candlebox, some Brian Setzer, some Eminem (a strange mix for sure). All of those account for about 5-6 gigs of the 10GB that consumes half of my 20GB iPod. [the rest was acquired in college through filesharing and ripping friends' cds] Although I never got into Napster, even before the RIAA ripped it a new one. I was using little known stuff.

Posted 06/15/2005 12:50:30 PM

I ripped CDs for a year before I got my iPod so that I could download them when I bought one. I download MP3s from emusic.com monthly and I've bought maybe 150 songs from iTunes. Of the 2000 songs on my iPod most of them I already owned.

Posted 06/15/2005 12:53:16 PM

After ripping my entire collection at 160kbps it fills 60GB of space, and I had to pare down what goes on the 40GB Nomad.

Posted 06/15/2005 12:54:11 PM

As this website points out, "many people copy CDs they own onto their iPods, so it's pretty clear that not all the non-iTunes music comes from filesharing." This is perfectly legal fair use. I would bet that at least a large minority of iPod owners have paid for all their music. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: kevin

Posted 06/16/2005 09:16:00 AM

The only stuff I've gotten from iTunes was due to winning Pepsi bottles.. But the far, far majority of the tracks on my iPod are from ripping my wife and my cd collection - some 300-plus CDs. That adds up pretty quickly, especially if you are not encoding at crappy bitrates like 128k..

Gerardo Lorenzana
Posted 11/13/2005 03:51:49 AM

Yeah, a large part of music on iPods comes from ripping our own CDs! All my music is purchased, and while I have downloaded a large number of songs (over 1100 so far) from iTunes... I have at least twice as many that have been ripped from my CD collection. I'm perfectly fine with purchasing music digitally, prefer it actually... All the music business has to do is make it available. Long for iTunes to be able to sell The Beatles, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, etc. Most of my collection of Stones material was purchased on iTunes.