"Alternating" Smart Playlist

Smart Playlists
Shuffling my whole library is fun, but I always wanted some way to guarantee that it plays lots of short songs and not many long ones, especially all in a row. There are several solutions out there that deal with this, but the nature of simple shuffling means you are bound to have two longs songs in a row no matter how you tweak the proportions of short and long songs.

What I really wanted was a list that would alternate between two lists -- one of very short songs and one of longer songs. The two lists would be random, but you would always hear a short one, then a long one, then a short one...

To do this, I created the two lists with the following parameters:

Time is within range... (suit to taste)
Last played not within 1 day
Last skipped not within 1 day

The key is to limit the list to just 1 song.

Then, I put both lists in a folder, turned shuffle off and repeat on. Each time I finish or skip a song it disappears from the list and is replaced with one of its companions, at the end of the folder list. The song from the other playlist comes on next, and will be similarly replaced.

I've been thinking about other things you could do with this:

-Create a rotating list of artists, ensuring equal play -- each sublist would pick one track based on artist name

-Make a random alphabetical list (by song name probably) -- make a sublist for each letter

-Make a random "CD" with tracks that show up relative to where they came from originally -- have a sublist for each track number up to 15 or 20

Any other ideas?

Unfortunately for me, I have a lot of 0:00 second songs that seem to make the list stop playing entirely. I had to set my range to 3 seconds and up.

Also, I noticed that if I skipped a song within 10 seconds it didn't register as a skip, so the song stayed there which mucks it up. Is this a feature or a bug in iTunes? I'll just learn to be patient.

Haven't tried on the iPod yet either.

Thought I'd share because I couldn't find what I wanted anywhere -- hope I'm not duplicating here! Thanks for listening.

by alden on Nov 24 | 6:13 am


To answer your comment about skip count--From a previous surfing session:

by Snyder on 9/12/06

As far as I can tell, it only marks a song as "skipped" if you are between 2 and 20 seconds into the song. 0 to 1 seconds or anything over 20 seconds does nothing.

Similarly, skipping to the next song within 9 seconds of the end of the track marks it as a "played".

Also, I noticed it doesn't matter how much of the track you actually listened to, it marks the track based of where the song is at at the moment you skip tracks. e.g. If you listen to the whole song up til right before the end then seek to somewhere in the middle of the song, THEN press the "next track" button, it wont count the track as "played". Same goes for if you seeked back to the beginning of the track and clicked "next track", it would count the song as being "skipped".


by barefootguru on Dec 01 | 8:23 pm

Huh, very interesting. I thought I already knew everything there was to know about SPL's, but every now and then the users here find lil secrets. Nice find Alden!

by genEric on Dec 04 | 7:34 pm

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