What Happens When Doing A PhD Dramatically Shrinks Your Social And Work Spheres…

On May 7, something I have been looking forward to for over a year finally happened. The exciting moment came quietly, sneakily, while I was working at my desk, but the months and months of anticipation beforehand included careful monitoring, betting, wishing, and waiting.
So now I celebrate:

The Day That A Song Finally Surpassed The ‘Qarth” Track From The “Game of Thrones Season 2” Soundtrack As The Most Played Item In My iTunes.


Some background:
In April 2012, my AMAZING friend-family, family, and colleagues secretly banded together to get me a new computer. I still haven’t fully recovered from this experience, and I’m thankful everyday for this MacBook Pro that is my research center, movie theater, phone and CD player. It is the most treasured and most used gift I’ve ever received or may ever receive.

Soundtrack_Season_1But in the process of transferring my music from my dying 2006 MacBook, (did I accidentally create a new apple id? Forget my password? Use my external hard drive wrong? I have no idea), all the play counts reset in my iTunes. I’d never paid attention to them before, so starting at zero for everything escaped my notice. Until…you see, at the same time that I switched everything over to my new computer and new iTunes, I decided to read the Game of Thrones series, which naturally meant purchasing the soundtracks to listen to while I read. So those two short albums were played A LOT while I read the 4000+ pages of the current 5 books (and also while we played D&D that summer). So within six weeks of my iTunes reset, “Game of Thrones” completely dominated the play counts of my 20-day-long music library.

gameofthronesseason2soundtrack[Interestingly, the day I noticed the imbalance was when I was working a Town Hall Seattle event with George R. R. Martin and we decided to play the soundtracks in the auditorium beforehand using my computer. When the sound tech looked at my play count, he gave me a semi-accusing look that said, ‘Geeeeez, somebody lacks diversity in their music tastes” and though I tried to explain the situation, the damage was done.]

Moving on then to Scotland, I thought I could outsmart the play counts by only listening to the soundtracks on my iPod while I read. Two months into that plan, I realized that iTunes updated iPod plays as well. Nyooooooo!!

So I resigned myself to a long waiting process of watching to see which songs would eventually overtake the “Game of Thrones” soundtracks, particularly ‘Qarth” which somehow sored above the other GoT songs by a massive lead. At the time I really started taking notice, ‘Qarth’ had a 15 play-count advance over the rest of my iTunes library. That was in October of 2012.

So how, you ask, did it take a year and a half for a song to get played 16 times to finally outstrip ‘Qarth’? BECAUSE my precisely honed seasonal playlisting means most songs only get played for 2-4 months out of the year. Therefore, to really get traction, a song had to be in more than one season-playlist.

HBP_SoundtrackSo which albums have the most seasonal coverage? While the song leader for a long time was Simone Dinnerstein’s performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variation #28, the “Harry Potter” soundtracks started gaining ground once they made their way into Christmas as well as other narratively appropriate seasons. Turns out “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” has tracks in my winter, spring, summer, fall and Christmas playlists.

For months I thought “Farewell Aragog” would be the first song to hit 49 plays. But late in the game, “When Ginny Kissed Harry” strode out in front and hit “49” just after 6pm on May 7th. (And ironically, while I was typing this blog post, the second runner up, “French Suite No. 5 in G Major VI” hit 49 as well, as reflected in the larger image below).

So now the next exciting goal is to see “Game of Thrones” bypassed by enough tracks to no longer be listed in the Top 25 plays, as right now they still have a strong presence. Of course it’s nothing against those albums. They’re great. I just don’t like that my iTunes statistics don’t reflect what I really listen to. I give it till 2016 for my iTunes to really look like what it sounds like.

And that’s how my obsessive-compulsive tendencies are expressing themselves now that I don’t have a bar to organize or house-managing schedule to keep.

*addiitonal note- “Abraham’s Daughter” from “The Hunger Games” has a super high playcount as well because I’ve lectured on it and am writing a paper about it right now. And I like it.

itunes full

Posted on Mon, May 19th, 2014 at 12:09 am
Filed under Books, intertextuality, Lists, Music, Pop Culture, Scotland, Seattle.

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