Thursday, December 17, 2009


If you are like 220 millions of earth citizen who happens to own an iPod*, chances are your music collection size is in order of gigabytes. So how big is your collections, and what lies behind all that?

I personally only has a modest-sized music library, mere 11.90 GB in my iTunes library. I used to hoard a lot more than that until I had to let my old laptop go. But the most wonderful thing about personal music players are their ability to provide soundtracks to your (pathetic, mundane, blessedly wonderful) life, and coupled with the power of human memory, to preserve events in the past to be reminisced in the future.

At this point, whenever any song from Travis' The Boy With No Name got shuffled in my iPod, it feels like 2007 again. It feels like retracing steps in Hotel Jayakarta for AUDC, running in anxiety for Astrophysics II final exam, and dozing off during Mathematical Physics II finals. Meanwhile, Imogen Heap's Goodnight and Go reminds me of the cramped travel ride to Lampung, getting intoxicated with carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide during the ferry ride crossing the Sunda Strait. And how weird is that Fort Minor's Enjoy the Silence always reminds me of the first time I was in Singapore? Of the feel of being able to rely on public transportation to get around, and the post event crushing disappointment. I suspect years from now Jonsi - Boy Lillikoi will bring my memory to the long commute to Kyoto.

Meanwhile, as I was a frequent user of the night train to get back home from Bandung, blasting my ears with music was a sure way to keep me awake and not to miss the stop. This might be the reason why I associate Nada Surf and The Fray and Bell with the thought of going home. Feist and Kings of Convenience were the soundtrack to the happy life of TPB, while Death Cab for Cutie's Plans was on heavy rotation after graduation. The tranquil ferry ride to and from Lombok was Phoenix's 1901 and Silversun Pickup's Panic Switch. I can go on.

And I guess this is why karaoke is so popular (no, I am not saying this is necessarily a good thing).

The fact being hip and up-to-date in the newest musics is fun and all notwithstanding, I daresay that most of the tunes in our music players are--I know mine are--of dubious origin. Let's say I'm your average guy. I have thousands of songs in my iPod. And just how many of it are legal download? All I can remember is that my Brooke Waggoner's Fresh Pair of Eyes is legal. As well as several tracks I got from some music blogs I follow. And of course, my Boy Lillikoi is legal. Which is to say, the number (of the tracks with dubious origin) pales in comparison with the overall number. I did a bit of a counting, and if the tracks are priced at flat 99cents/song, then the amounts that I owe to the music industry, is... staggering.

I can blame the availability of the records. Or rather, I could. I guess my being Japan has better chance in finding the albums I would otherwise unable to find in Indonesia. Or me not having a credit card to purchase songs from iTunes Store.

At least the apps are all legal (and free).

* the use of iPod^ here can be generalized to any Personal Music Players that includes Zune, Creative Zen, Sansa, or even sufficiently sophisticated handphones with gigabytes of memory. Apple's iPhone, Nokia, SE springs to mind.

^ And have you ever pondered how these things were unimaginable just 10 years ago? I guess Arthur Clarke's Law is really true, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."


Intan Alasdair said...

I love this blog post! Like I would seriously hype hype hype this post!!! :)
Seriously I can soo relate to how you feel about that feeling of being sucked back in time reliving, reminiscing certain moments ignites by the playing of certain music. Seriously... *shakes head*

P.s. the word verification says jablaj!!! what does this song ignite in your memory bank??? lol.

Hanandhita said...

here im so fed up with indonesian bands here.
semuanya dibikin sontrek sinetron.
Currently listening to Scorpion's You and I. jadi inget jaman SMP :P

hilmy said...

jablaj reminds me of the one time I was evading a torrential rain at campus. There's a zoo across the road from ITB, and sometimes from inside the campus we can hear people singing from its pasar seni area. Oldies songs, Indonesians songs, and of course, all sorts of dangdut. They're using full-blast sound systems, mind you.

And yes, blogger's word verification system can sometimes conjure up really odd words.