So that, and minnehaha's newest rockingness, brought the idea of a CD Swap Party out from my hind brain, fully formed like some Greek goddess:
A correct number of people are invited to the party. This should be a number that allows for a diverse selection of music to show up to the party but not so many that, if the party were to listen to a representative sample of the music each person brought, it would become too long and boring. My current feeling is that a dozen would be about right.
Each person brings three, no more, no less, CDs to the party. They should be CDs that they like and that they think that other people may not have listened to but would like if they did. Some method of identifying each CD so that it can be returned to the owner in the future is encouraged. Alternatively, the owner may choose to make a copy of the CD if they truly can not part with it. The latter is not encouraged, however, as part of the experience of the CD for people can include the artwork and liner notes.
In turn, the order of which doesn't matter, each person introduces one of the CDs they have brought to the party. They may select a representative track to play for the group, but it should not be an overly long one. If a suitable track isn't something the CD has (if it is, for example, something like Alice's Restaurant) a sample of no more than three minutes may be played. Others who have heard the particular album or other works by the artist may offer opinions on such for the edification of the group. General discussion is welcome but should not interfere with someone who is trying very hard to listen to the sample. (With a dozen people bringing three CDs each, we'd have 36 sample tracks, each roughly three minutes long, meaning 108 minutes of music. Round up to 120 for two hours of music, add an hour for discussion and the core focus of the party shoulld take about three hours.)
After each person has introduced one of their CDs, the process repeats until all three CDs of each person have been introduced to the group. When all are completed, the swap begins. This may be as simple as tossing all the CDs into a pile and having everyone pick three to take home or could be a more organized swapping where I'll give you my Let It Be by The Replacements for your American Beauty by The Grateful Dead.
Each person at the party will provide their name, email address and the title of the CD they took home. The host will collect this information and mail it to everyone shortly after the party. Ideally, three weeks after the party would be a "return" party where everyone brings back the CDs, returns them to the original owner and gives their impressions thereof. Realistically, the returning, if necessary, will likely be up to individuals. Failure to return CDs promptly and in good order will not garner you invitations to future parties.
I'm willing to host the first of these sometime before March 14 (when I leave for India). My home may not be an ideal venue for such, and I may not have what audiophiles would consider suitable equipment for listening, but I'm willing to give it a go (perhaps with a smaller group).
I'm interested, however, in all and sundry impressions and ideas about such a party. What would be the pitfalls of such a thing? How might it work better than outlined above? Would you be interested in going to such a party? Do you think it would be fun?