I have a large music collection, and today I wondered how physically large it might be in various obsolete formats (not including the playback equipment).
In its current form, it is stored on a hard disk as 59GB of MP3 and other digital compressed formats. It has a total playing time of 718 hours – just a touch under a month.
|MP3s on 64GB SD memory card||0.002 kg||1.613 cm³|
|582 MiniDiscs||14 kg||21,338 cm³|
|538 audio CDs||59 kg||95,495 cm³|
|718 cassettes||57 kg||81,001 cm³|
|897 reel-to-reel tapes||449 kg||151,593 cm³|
|862 12″ LPs||172 kg||400,938 cm³|
|1724 12″ EPs||345 kg||801,876 cm³|
OK, so EP was a slightly facetious choice of format for storing an entire music library, but if we compare the SD card to a stack of LPs, the LPs weighs 86,000 times more, and is 248,566 times larger. In fact, the LPs would be about the same size as a wheelie bin, and weigh as much as two people.
While the reel-to-reel tapes are a bit smaller, they also weigh almost half a ton!
If you’re curious about the definitions I’ve used in these back-of-the-envelope calculations, see the following section.
- Audio CD – Playing time 80 minutes, in hard jewel case with paper inlay
- MiniDisc – Playing time 74 minutes, in hard case
- Cassette – C60 cassette, playing time 60 minutes, in standard hard plastic case
- Reel-to-reel – ¼” 1800′ tape on 7″ reel, 7½ips playback speed, playing time 48 minutes, in card box
- LP – 331/3rpm 12″ vinyl, playing time 50 minutes, in thin card sleeve
- EP – 45rpm 12″ vinyl, playing time 25 minutes, in thin card sleeve