Make even smarter Genius playlists

Smart Playlists
I love iTunes' Genius feature. It's replaced smart playlists as my favorite way to construct aesthetically coherent sequences of songs. But I find the Genius dopey in one way: It repeats itself.

Let's say that, on Monday, I'm really liking the song For Emma by Bon Iver and want to hear it and songs like it. I'll select the song, hit the Genius button, and listen happily to the resulting playlist for hours. But then let's say that on Tuesday I'm still really liking For Emma and want to hear it and some more songs like it again, but I don't want to hear all the related songs I listened to the day before.

I could hit the Refresh button, but the Genius will likely suggest the same subset of songs. Same goes for other Bon Iver songs: Genius playlists based on any of them will likely overlap. I wish there was a way to tell the Genius to favor songs I haven't heard in a while. Barring that, my solution is to combine smart playlists with the Genius:

<li>As usual, select the song on which you want to base your playlist and click the Genius button. From the Limit To drop-down menu, select 100 songs, then click on Save Playlist.</li>
<li>Go to File » New Smart Playlist. Set the selection criterion to Playlist Is, and point it to the Genius playlist you just created. Then select Limit To number of songs, Selected by Least Recently Played. You can choose any number of songs, but it should be something less than 50, in order to keep the playlist fresh.</li>
<li>Click OK and give your new smart playlist a name. I save all such playlists to a Genius folder, for easier syncing with my iPod.</li>

There is one glitch in this system, and it's a biggie: The new smart playlist won't contain the actual song on which the original Genius list is based. So, in my example, my smart playlist would contain a bunch of songs related to For Emma but not (because I played it recently) For Emma itself. I'm still working on that one. Any suggestions?

by dfbills on Feb 19 | 7:12 pm


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