I awoke in the middle of the night on a recent business trip and realized I had forgotten to set the sleep timer on the hotel's television. Whatever program I had been watching, however many hours it had been since I had fallen asleep, had been replaced by an infomercial. Oddly enough, this infomercial managed to hold my interest long enough for me to find the remote and turn off the TV.
How often have any of us purchased one of those greatest hits music compilation "infomercial" CD's? We see the commercials on TV and are reminded of all the hit songs we hadn't thought about for years. Of course, the ad can't help but point out that this "greatest hits CD" is far less expensive than buying all the original works by each individual artist.
There are any number of those compilation CD's that contain hits of one genre, period of time or some other yardstick by which hit records are measured. This particular infomercial, assaulting me at 3:00 AM, was all the great Motown classics. Finding the remote all tangled up in the covers, I laughed as I turned off the TV because I was tempted to buy the silly thing. Why not, it had all my favorites.
Upon my return home I was still wondering why and by whom such recordings would be purchased. On some level, it seems a perfectly logical thing to do. Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to scroll through my CD's and see how many "compilation" works I had purchased from some time frame or genre.
Frankly, I was surprised at the results of my search. Because yes, at some point I had succumbed to the temptations of a collection of hits that I just "couldn't live without." I was surprised to find that I have a total of five of them. One is a greatest hits of the Disco era. I'm not especially embarrassed that I bought it, frankly I like 70's music, and I'm sure I did so many years ago. I will, however, admit to being a bit curious why I copied it to the server. To my knowledge, I have never once played it in modern times.
Next, I set about answering another question about my music library at which I had arrived - how many CD's I've bought for just one song? I was shocked to discover that before I got half way through my music library, I found almost fifteen CD's from which I have only played or listened to one or maybe two songs. I found a surprising number in which I'm quite sure only one song on the CD had EVER been played.
As an audiophile this seems somehow decidedly counterintuitive. I have made an attempt to listen to a wider variety of music because I am an audiophile than I might were I not. I have almost forced myself to purchase music I otherwise wouldn't because I felt like I needed to like a particular genre. I took that exact position with classical and discovered that I now enjoy it whereas before, symphonic music drove me nuts.
I have also purchased music I don't really particularly like. I've done so in the event someone might come to my home to hear my system, request an artist or a genre, and I not be able to honor the request. Still, that doesn't dissuade my questioning some of my musical purchases.
I am fully aware why I might have purchased a "compilation" album. I only wanted to listen to hit songs and I didn't care about what was on the rest of the album. Plus, the fact that buying this assortment of hits was far easier, and, as the infomercial claimed, dramatically less expensive than buying all those CD's for the singular sake of one song.
I am left feeling a little perplexed at the other condition - all those CD's and, I'm quite certain LP's, I have that I've only used for one or maybe two songs. I tell myself that when I purchased the CD or LP I did so because of one song, but I would obviously like the remainder of the work as well. So if that's the case, why did I find almost fifteen, one or two song CD's before I got to "N" - at which point I stopped looking?
On the whole, I don't really see myself today waking up at 3:00 AM and hurriedly dialing the phone to buy a "collection" of hit songs from an infomercial. I won't do so for any number of reasons. However, I will admit the concept probably sells a lot of CD's for someone. Were that not the case, none would be available. As for buying a CD in the future for one particular song, well, at this point, I can't rule that out.
I think what I will do is go resurrect the Disco hits CD. I don't have a white leisure suit, and I don't look like Tony Manero, but I'm hopeful I can Saturday Night Fever my way around the great room. Maybe I can even do so without breaking my leg.