Thursday, April 22, 2004


How do you store your music collection? I don't mean in drawers or on shelves, I mean: in what order?

Do you sort by genre? Alphabetically? Is it unsorted?

I am a fan of the alphabetical method, and it all seemed very clear to me when I kept my own collection in order. Then last year, Mrs. Mac hired a decorator who came in to help her re-do and sort-out the entire apartment. It was money well-spent. All the windows were re-done and the entire art collection was re-hung, some furniture was moved about, and the entertainment center was re-organized.

I had my reservations about another person alphabetizing my CDs, but I decided to keep my reservations to myself. I was pleasantly surprised by a few things and miffed about another.

It all got me thinking about the many ways to sort the CDs:

Do the individual members of a band get sorted in with the band? Does John Lennon get sorted in with The Beatles? Does Sting get sorted in with The Police? Does Tin Machine go under David Bowie or after The Time? And what about the numerals? Does the band 999 get placed numerically before the letter A, or within the letter N? Do the CDs then get sorted chronologically or alphabetically within each artist? Then there are the singles! What about singles? In the analog days of vinyl, the singles and the LPs were always filed separately because they were different sizes, now in the digital age they are the same size. I always filed my 12" singles separately from the LPs because they were often "dance" mixes that I wanted all together when doing the mixed dance segues. So, do the singles get sorted in with the full-length releases? What about classical music and operas? Are they sorted separately? Do they get sorted by composer or performer or vocalist? Where do compilations go? And the big argument: Does Iggy Pop get filed under I or P?

How do you sort your collection?

I was impressed by Mrs. Mac's man. He sorted Tin Machine in with David Bowie, and he sorted The Police in with Sting. John Lennon was NOT with The Beatles. But Iggy Pop was under P and I always filed Iggy under I. The operas and symphonies were sorted by composer. Singles were sorted in with the artists' full-length releases. There was no sorting within the artist. It was a big job, and he did it well.

So my collection is sorted from Ace to Zappa, with the compilations after that, and the holiday music at the end. I have left Iggy mis-filed under Pop, but I know that will change one day!