More bytes now. iTunes hungry

9 September 2008

When I saw iTunes 8 needed about 200MB of free disk space to install, I thought I'd have a go at graphing the software's recent high-protein weight-gain programme. Up until version 6, it seems that Apple's flagship software package was a mere stripling, with downloads checking in at well under 15MB up until the end of 2005. Then it was time for a new look iTunes - I think it was about then that the colour of the icon changed from green to blue.

Since version 6, iTunes has definitely been at the cheezburgers and piling on the pounds. Given the way it now glitches and succumbs to the beachball, it's not clear how much is digital muscle and how much is blubber. Either way, its download size is currently doubling every 1.5 years.


After starting it up, I turned off the grid pretty much straightaway. I'm trying out the Genius function but it's still crunching away after an hour. To be fair, it has 20 000 tracks to work through.

The download size estimates are from Versiontracker, by the way.


I have to say the Genius function is pretty impressive - OK, I can argue about the 24 tracks it selects as being similar to some mainstream artist like Neil Young, or REM, or Madonna, but I doubt my own choice would be much better. And give it some folk or prog-rock track and it's astonishing how it comes up with 24 compatible tracks from your library instantly. Good grief, I have far too much prog-rock. And folk. However, I can't see myself using the feature much - I already have some pretty sophisticated playlists, and anyway, I have if I want to hear new "related" music. And I've never really used that either. So: good gimmick, but it'll quickly be ignored.

Chris, sorry about the delay in getting your comment to the site. I had to dig it out of the spam filter having realised that the recent upgrade altered some of the settings, and not necessarily in a good way.

I was surprised at how effective Genius was at building workable playlists. It is also pretty conservative. If a track has not appeared in anybody's playlists, the function just says it can't build a playlist because it doesn't have enough information. I would imagine that for very popular tracks, the playlists could be a bit ropey because those tracks will be matched to a very wide range. Genius works very well for dance, it seems, and indie stuff.