Can you make an infinite number of playlists?

When mowing the lawn, I like to listen to podcasts. One of my favorites is [Buzz Out Loud](http://bol.cnet.com). This weekend, I was listening to episode 817 and one of the topics of discussion was MySpace and their DRM free music stuff. [Wired](http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/09/myspace-launche.html) had a description of what they were going to do. That is not my point. The point is the claim that you could make an infinite number of playlists. How about I calculate (or estimate) the number of different playlists one could make.

First, the idea behind the idea. Calculating the number of combinations is not my strong suit. I always get myself confused. So, if I make an error, feel free to point it out. [Wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combinatorics) calls it combinatorics. Not sure if that is the real name for this stuff, but I guess it doesn’t matter.

Ok. Now for the parameters. The Wired story says that MySpace will allow playlists up to 100 songs. How many songs does one have to choose from? If it were my music collection, I have 2107 songs. I suspect that this is below average (the reason for this suspicion is that I rarely acquire new music so I figure my library is smaller than the norm). What about iTunes? How many songs are available on that? According to [wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITunes_Store) there are 8 million songs you can pick from.

Continue reading “Can you make an infinite number of playlists?”