This is what the bottom of my iTunes window shows when I select the whole library. I just finished ripping my complete CD collection and bought 30 tracks at the iTunes store. I knew that, over the years, I had spent an inordinate amount of money in record stores. I just wasn't aware how much. And that's only because I don't follow the charts and haven't been buying much music lately. I can't imagine how many tracks would the collection of someone who is really into music come to. As you might expect, there are a lot of those songs that I haven't listened to in ages.
As someone who is not really into music, how did I manage to amass so much music over time? There are two reasons really. I have fairly eclectic tastes and my music collection includes a bit of everything, from classical to heavy metal with a lot of 80s in the middle, some techno, jazz, soundtracks but also a large amount of what you could call world music: French rock, Euro pop, Spanish heavy metal and Celtic rock** Yes I do mean Spanish Celtic rock, check out the Celtas Cortos, Breton traditional songs, etc. The second reason could be called the album effect: I have a lot of albums I bought because I wanted a couple of tracks and got another eight or so bundled with them. This is the typical problem with the music industry, you can't pick and choose. Although, electronic stores like iTunes may be the solution to this as they can sell you individual tracks without you having to buy the whole album. In fact, that's how I have been using it. Most of the 30 songs I bought from iTunes are individual tracks taken from albums of artists I don't really know so it's a good way to get a taster at a reasonable price. Then maybe later I will buy more from them, potentially full albums.
Apart from realising how much I have spent in record stores, the result of me spending time ripping all those CDs means that I now have all my music on my computer. I can stream it to the living room's stereo and have music all day without having to change a CD. Or I can create a smart playlist and organise a party without having to be the DJ. Now that sounds like a plan.