Maybe ten years ago, I saw a statistic that the average CD was only listened to two or three times. When I started buying CDs, I'd typically listen to them a few times right away to get above-average use out of them, then try to keep them in rotation over time.

I wonder how this statistic is now that many people don't even buy CDs, and many more people now own portable audio devices. It's a lot easier to listen to your purchased media now than it used to be. With the shuffle feature of most digital media players, you even wind up listening more to stuff you don't even remember that you have.

So anyway, one thing I do on my MP3 player (not an iPod) is when I add a new album (almost always bought on CD and ripped to MP3 by yours truly), I add it to a playlist for the calendar year. That is, everything I bought in 2008 is listed in the file "2008.m3u". This makes end-of-year retrospective lists easier, but it typically gets ignored until the last few days of the year, when I listen to this playlist over and over. It sears the music I was interested in that year into my brain so I can remember the times and my personality a little better.

How many times does a single song bring back a memory of a time or a place? I have a playlist for each year.

2008.12.30 at 12:00am EST