How many songs do you know?

Between my computer list and my meager CD collection, I have about 4,000 songs archived. This total is a small fraction of the total number of songs I would recognize, because I am not a music collector in any sense. The songs I have purchased or saved are just a small fraction of all the songs I have ever become familiar with.

To make a long story short, I figure I must be able to recognize *at least *20,000 songs, and I think that is a conservative estimate. I don’t consider myself to be at all extraordinary in this regard. I would guess that a more musically-inclined individual would be able to recognize many times more songs than I would.

So…based on your own calculation, or any academic studies that you are aware of; how many songs can the average person recognize?

Are you literally limiting this to “songs”?

(It’s hard to tell these days, when some people call any music a “song.”)