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 Syncing in the Depths

Smart Playlists
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wherein I dissect my iTunes playlists, smart or otherwise

I've got a lot of music. I mean, a lot. So I find myself semi-regularly tweaking my playlists and what goes on my iPod. Here is a small subset of what I've currently got happening.

At the most basic level, I've got two types of files. Well, three, really, if you count Books & Spoken Word, which I won't for purposes here.

All Songs - Unheard
Match all of the following conditions:
Play Count is less than 1
Genre is not Books & Spoken
Kind does not contain stream
Live Updating


and

All Songs - Heard
Match all of the following conditions:
Play Count is greater than 0
Genre is not Books & Spoken
Kind does not contain stream
Live Updating


When I first import a CD or a song it automatically gets added to my 16000+ song Library. By itself, there's not much hope it will ever get noticed, or even found!

Recently Added
Match all of the following conditions:
Date Added is in the last 2 weeks
Genre is not Books & Spoken
Live Updating


This becomes my holding pen, where I can clean up tags, etc. There are parts of this playlist that I might want to add to my iPod, so I've got a meta-playlist associated with it:

Recently Added - unheard (gets added to iPod)
Match all of the following conditions:
Playlist is Recently Added
Play Count is 0
Match only checked songs
Live Updating


This allows me to uncheck songs in Recently Added, as well as float to the top new tracks that I haven't heard yet. I tend to uncheck only if a song is an exact duplicate of another track in my library (ie, one copy coming from a best of or compilation album, while the other is from the original album...) or if the track is nothing but a spoken intro to a song, without diving into the song itself.

So that gets me my unheard, new music. What happens when I listen to it?

Favs - Hot
Match all of the following conditions:
Last Played is in the last 1 week
Playlist is All Songs - Heard
Match only checked songs
Live Updating


I've lately taken to not syncing my Hot list with the iPod. I'm trying to churn up old and unheard songs, so hearing the same song on my 'pod twice in the same week is not conducive to that. But the longer a song doesn't get heard after that first play, it will trickle down through the following:

Favs - Recycle (gets added to iPod)
Match all of the following conditions:
Last Played is not in the last 1 week
Last Played is in the last 1 month
Playlist is All Songs - Heard
Match only checked songs
Live Updating


Favs - Forgotten
Match all of the following conditions:
Last Played is not in the last 1 month
Last Played is in the last 3 months
Playlist is All Songs - Heard
Match only checked songs
Live Updating


and finally

Favs - Ancient
Match all of the following conditions:
Last Played is not in the last 3 months
Playlist is All Songs - Heard
Match only checked songs
Live Updating


OK, so really I shouldn't be calling those playlists "Favorites" because they're really just "Heards". I used to incorporate a ranking system into them, where they'd only include 4 or 5 star songs, but dropped that condition. Forgotten and Ancient tracks are not currently added to the iPod, because their track counts currently stand at 1512 and 3383, respectively.

My last two date-based playlists are variations...

Favs - Played a lot, but not lately (gets added to iPod)
Match all of the following conditions:
Play Count is greater than 5
Last Played is not in the last 6 weeks
Playlist is All Songs - Heard
Match only checked songs
Live Updating


I'm still trying to find the right values for that one. I might end up increasing the required playcount, and perhaps the maturity of the track as well. This is a chance for Forgotten and Ancient songs that I've listened to at least a handful of times to re-enter the mix. Currently there are 345 songs that match.

Three Hours of Old, Good Songs (gets added to iPod)
Match ANY of the following conditions:
Playlist is  Favs - Ancient
Playlist is  Favs - Forgotten
Limit to 3 hours selected by Highest Rating
Match only checked songs
Live Updating


This gets me a limited set of high rated songs that might have less than the 5 Play Count that the previous list requires. Ok, I could probably clean that up some.

Well, as you can see from everything so far, this is great for keeping track of everything I've listened to at least once, but I do want to kick up a bit of the unknown as well, which brings me to this one:

Unheard 250MB (gets added to iPod)
Match all of the following conditions:
Playlist is All Songs - Unheard
Playlist is not Recently Added - Unheard
Limit to 250 MB selected by Random
Match only checked songs
Live Updating


And finally, when I really want to give specific tracks a chance, I have a manual playlist "Listen to Me!" which I toss songs into when I think they're something that SHOULD have a play count greater than 0, but for some reason, don't yet. This list gets synced too, but requires me to manually remove a track after it's been played.

Now, it occurs to me that the only one of the above that has ANYTHING to do with rating is the "Three Hours of Old, Good Songs". But I should remind you that I use iRate 1.8.5 to rate my music based on (Play count ÷ days in library) • 1000, which really means that a song is only as good as how often I actually listen to it, not allowing me to presuppose the greatness of a track just because I think I should like it.

I could probably apply some logic to factor and reduce the formulae above, and maybe I will, but that's the current state of things. Thanks for staying with me this far.


by ChuckEye on Feb 09 | 10:53 pm
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