Music on Mondays — I have the world’s largest collection of digital music!

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Have you ever wanted to have the world’s largest collection of music? I have. I love music. My mom played the piano and organ, and was an accompanist for several years with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Her mom played the flute and her dad played the violin.

When we kids were age two, mom started teaching us piano. When we started grade school, we had to pick a second instrument to play. I chose the violin. When I was ten and living with my wise old grandmother, I took up voice and sang in the school choir. Didn’t sing in the church choir because we went to St. Gertrude’s Catholic Church. Catholic churches at that time didn’t have church choirs. Maybe they still don’t.

I left the Catholic Church in 1977 when I moved to Houston. I went to First Presbyterian Church, for two reasons. First, Ken, my best friend at the time (he died at age 32 of leukemia) was from a musical family. His brother-in-law was head of the Houston Grand Opera, and his sister, Adair, was their star soprano. Second, Ken’s family attended First Presbyterian Church of Houston, which had a super music program.

I quit piano in 1973, violin in 1993, and voice in 2003. Now all I do is listen to Jim play (he has a bachelor’s and master’s in Piano Performance from University of Redlands. When he’s not playing, my computer stereo system is playing, about 18 hours a day. It gets turned off for some sporting events and two television programs: “Suits” and “White Collar.”

A couple of months ago I realized that I had the world’s largest collection of music. Not literally, although I do own over 59,000 digital music files. However, I have instantaneous access to the world’s largest collection of music. It’s called YouTube! It’s open 24/7, national and international holidays included…. major national and international sporting events included…. In the decade I’ve been using YouTube, I have never found it closed!

Finding the music I want to listen to, though, has always been a challenge. Sometimes the video was deleted by the owner…. sometimes deleted by YouTube due to a copyright owner alleging copyright infringement…. sometimes not available in my country (don’t understand that one yet)….

Sometimes the video comes with an advertisement because the video has been monetized…. The longest advertisement I found was on a 4:55 video of a song by The Kinks. The advertisement was an informercial of twelve minutes! I said no, no thanks. Unfortunately, finding videos without advertisements is hit or miss. Just as soon as you find one, the next time you play it, it’s been monetized.

What I have been doing as time allowed is searching on You Tube for music that I don’t have, finding a good video, and then copying the URL to my Excel spreadsheet of digital music files. If I want to listen to the video, I simply click on the URL in Excel and away we go!

One of the groups that I lost track of in the mid-’80s was Deep Purple. Recently, I added the YouTube URLs to Deep Purple’s music all the way through to Now What? released just this past April. I found sixteen(!) Deep Purple albums that I did not have, including their rare first four albums where I never found released on CD when CDs were booming. Now I have a complete collection of Deep Purple.

The Kinks was represented in my collection with just two songs: “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” and “A Well Respected Man.” Without spending a penny of money, I now have a complete collection of The Kinks: twenty-three albums!

Whitesnake is a group that was not represented in my collection at all. I discovered them via Deep Purple, whose one-time lead singer, David Coverdale, quit in 1978 and formed Whitesnake. Their music is very similar to Deep Purple, for obvious reasons, and I now have a complete Whitesnake collection: eleven albums!

All via YouTube and not spending a single penny buying digital downloads, CDs, vinyl albums…………………….

Here are three URLs to Deep Purple, Kinks, and Whitesnake that I added to “my” music collection:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you don’t have an Excel spreadsheet of music, no problem. On YouTube you can create your own music channel and then add videos to it. They don’t have to be your videos! They can be URLs to videos that you like. Quite interesting, and something that I’ll be exploring further.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos


15 thoughts on “Music on Mondays — I have the world’s largest collection of digital music!

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      There are two things you can do. Remake them digitally or digitally record them. The digital recording route would be easiest.

      It can be really easy depending on the sound card in your computer. First, hook up your tape deck to your computer. If your tape deck won’t hook up to your computer, you’ll have to buy a new tape deck that does. However, that doesn’t have to be expensive. The sound that comes out of the tape deck is not what we’re really interested in. We’re interested in the sound that is going through your computer’s sound card.

      Once you’ve found a way to play the tapes through your computer’s sound card, get a digital recording program. I use Audacity. It’s an open source program so it’s free. However, it does crash way too often, but the people who work on Audacity know about that because I told them so!

      Once you have Audacity, you can set it to record whatever sound is going through your sound card. Again, though, that is dependent on the sound card. Some sound cards allow recording directly, some don’t.

      This is how people record their old 8-track, reel-to-reel, and cassette tapes, not to mention their vinyl records, as well. It’s pretty cool


  1. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    Great choices! ..Richie Blackmore of Deep Purple is my favorite gutarist
    I wear out his Blackmore Knights CD’s I will have to figure out how to download the way you say to (computer challenged in a big way LOls)
    Thanks I enjoyed !
    Take care…


  2. Halim

    Hi Russel. You live in the United States and sometimes you get the ‘not available in your country’ message from YouTube too?? That’s very surprising to me and, well this sounds terrible but I feel a little bit better. I get so annoyed by that message, I mean ‘www.’ is World Wide Web, right, haha? Reading that you come across that message too makes me think it’s the person who posts the video who decides where it can get shown. Maybe.


    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Hey, Halim. Most often it’s the music publishing company who files a copyright infringement with YouTube. That infringement is based on where the video uploader lives as well as what publishing company is holding the copyrights for that country. If you look at publishing rights, you’ll often see something like “Worldwide distribution (or publishing) rights by Capitol Records.” Or you’ll see “European distribution rights by ****, U.S. rights by ****. All other rights by ***.” Some companies are more fanatical about keeping the music to which they own the rights off of YouTube.



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