Last night I was explaining to Bruno and Ashlee that during high school I became a recluse to music. My stereo was stolen out of my car, and for several years after that I never replaced it. I quickly became accustomed to driving around town without music and that soon translated into driving long distances (four hour drives) sans music, as well. Since I didn’t have music going in my car, I then moved into having no music playing in my apartment(s). I was living life in silence – which I still sometimes do.
The past few years, really since I moved up to Kansas City, I’ve had a giant re-interest in music. I’m sure I’ve said it before, I’m not a music snob, nor do I know much about artists and their histories... I get most of my music by word of mouth from close friends (that’s the best way, isn’t it?). I’m also not a music freak. I don’t need music playing all the time for me to be sane. It was that reason that had made me succumb to the fact that I’d probably never own an iPod (if I didn’t have one by now, why would I ever get one?). Luckily, the agency I work for gifted us with iPods last holiday season... so I was off the hook, I finally had my iPod.
Ever since the creation of Napster and peer-to-peer sharing, I’ve been amassing a collection of music again. Then with the invent of iTunes, creating a library has been a semi-second hobby to me (along with many others).
But I recently realized that while I’m a user of iTunes, I don’t really use it to it’s fullest capacity. It made me wonder who actually DOES use iTunes in a power user sort of way? And what exactly would constitute an iTunes power user? Let’s delve some.
Side Bar: Library
Okay, so everybody probably uses this feature. If you own any music, it should be here. But the interesting question is, do you let iTunes keep your music folder organized (advanced preference)? I used to be very against this, but now I just let iTunes do what it wants to do. I’ve purchased music and tv shows from the iTunes Store, but not movies or games. I’ve downloaded podcasts to listen to, but not audiobooks and I’ve rarely used the radio function.
Side Bar: Store
I like the iTunes Store, but I’m not sure I use it to it’s fullest potential. Sure I purchase stuff there, but I don’t look at the Just For You section. I never visit the Music Videos section. I don’t care what songs are listed as the Top Songs. And I never go to the store to watch Movie Trailers. I recently made a purchase of an album that hasn’t been released yet (which will automatically download when it’s available). I also have over 190 items in my Purchased folder – for whatever reason, I’ve chose to not clear that out.
Side Bar: Devices
I’ll occasionally listen to CDs with iTunes, but even more sparsely, I’ll attach my iPod to make sure it’s all synced up. I couldn’t even tell you the last time it was brought up to speed. I bet there’s a new software update that I’m missing and several songs, too.
Side Bar: Shared
I use this extensively at work, otherwise I think I’d go crazy listening to my music all of the time. At home, I haven’t been able to use this once. Either no one shares their music at home (or turns on iTunes for that matter), or we’re all on separate networks that won’t allow that. I don’t know.
Side Bar: Playlists
This is an area that I know I rarely use. I think I’ve made a total of seven playlists, six for CDs that I made (which are still present in my playlist) and one for a road trip. I use Party Shuffle quite often, but all of the preset lists from Apple were trashed many moons ago. I’ve seen some people that have playlists for every artist. I thought about doing that once and spent several hours making the folders... but then I got bored and thought I could just use the search option to listen to a specific artist if I wanted to. Plus, for some reason, I didn’t want all those playlists on my iPod.
Nothing too out of the ordinary here.
I’m currently set up to keep all of my podcasts regardless of playback, which is stupid, I know. If I listen to a podcast, I should delete it because it’s online somewhere and I could get it again if I really wanted to.
I don’t Crossfade Playback, I like hearing my songs begin and end. I do Sound Enhance, though I’m not really sure what that does. At work I Sound Check, but at home, for whatever reason, I don’t. I’m suspect if it really works. Smart Shuffle is set to "random."
I look for shared libraries, and I share my entire library (no password required, but good luck with those purchased songs – more on that later).
Buy using a shopping cart is the preference here, I’ve heard too many horror stories of those one-click shoppers and buying too much crap.
Like I mentioned earlier, I allow iTunes to keep my library sorted. I don’t use the Mini Player or do I ever use the Visualizer. I import my songs with the AAC encoder on High Quality (I don’t know what the best way is, suggestions?).
I wish I had a cinema display, because I’d really love to see all of the damn columns you can have displayed in iTunes... do we really need 29? No, I suppose not, that’s why you get to choose which ones you see (the ones I have displayed are starred *):
Talking about columns brings me to another point. Who uses the rating system? I’m a guy and we LOVE rating things (see Netflix, YouTube, Digg, etc.), but I don’t use this feature at all. Who does and why?
Probably the one thing that I don’t do, but should, is that when I buy music from the iTunes Store, I don’t burn a CD and re-import the music. As of right now, I can only listen to my purchased music on my computer(s) and my iPod. If that doesn’t say that I’m NOT a power user, I don’t know what does.
Who’s a power user out there?