Playlist Philosophy (Klevn's)

Smart Playlists
After reading the many great posts on creating smart playlists, I began adventuring on my own. Keep in mind that I have about 30 gigs of music, so organizing and getting those gems to play is key along with the "just good" songs. I want a nice mix, you can't play the top 40 all day it will make you sick (I've done my own testing in this area). So I began to look at smart playlists. In order to use smart playlist I decided that I must rate all of my music. I based my ratings entirely around using them to create my smart playlists. I will try to explain by showing the structure used in this system.

Here is a short list of my genres:

70's -- 70's classics
80's -- 80's classics
Alternative -- current alternative albums that I want to hear
Alternative2 -- perhaps older or overplay but I feel that I may want to listen to it again. Other albums that get dumped in because I simply have to many albums by that artist. I have way to many Dave Matthews Band albums, so I labeled half of them Alt2 to take them out of rotation on my more common playlists
Alternative3 -- Songs that are at a three live have a short life span
Alternative (Live) -- Alternative live albums that I only listen to as a concert -- live albums also get the (Live) tag in the Album column so I can always find them
Alternative-G -- Girly Alternative, Bjork ended up here.. kinda annoying and to be avoided at times
Alternative-O -- Alternative - Odd -- well just stuff that just doesn't belong anywhere else
Alternative-T -- Altertative Techno -- I prefer my techno here, when i go for "Alternative" i get stuff in here too
Rock -- my home base... rock!
Rock2 -- rock that has fallen from grace.. similiar to the alternative2
Old Rock -- my dads type of music.. i get a strange craving for it from time to time
Classic Rock -- good old music but just not my favorite.. but, as you may have noticed, I keep music that fits any mood imaginable

I have also rated all my music based on this system:
0 Stars -- brand new, I rate all songs 2 stars immediately
1 Star -- Trash, I have a smart playlist that is called trash that I clear out periodically
2 Stars -- this is stuff that
a) is comedy skits
b) songs that are in the middle of the albums stuff that is not my favorite, but I don't like to delete my full albums (in case I scratch the original cds!)
3 Stars -- this is good stuff, I use 3 Star songs as filler for smartplaylists that are based on 1 genre.
4 Stars -- These are great tracks, I always want to here this, I prefer to cross genres, so I create smart playlists that are based on songs that are 4-5 stars.
5 Stars -- The best, these are classics in whatever realm of music they come from

Now you can understand this smart playlist:

Match "all" of the following conditions:
My Rating is between 4-5 Stars -- Just the really good stuff
Last Played is not in the last 14 days -- I have a bunch of music.. I want to hear it all!
Genre does not contain 's -- this elimates 70's 80's etc...
Genre does not contain ( -- The only genre that has a ( is "(Live)" this eliminates the concert live albums
Genre does not contain Classic
Genre does not contain Old
Genre does not contain 2

Limit to 200 songs selected by Random
Match only checked songs
Live updating

Creates the perfect blend of music for me. It includes my Alternative and rock, and songs are not getting overplayed. Here are some more ways that my genre system can be used to create playlists:

Genre does not contain - -- change this on to -T would only elimanting Alternative-T, or as is it eliminates all of "-T -G -O" genres.

Create a playlist based on 3-5 stars in 1 genre. You get a great mix of best songs mixed with the other good stuff.

New songs are instantly given the ranking of 4 stars. I do this so they will be including my smart playlists. But this some what backfires because of the "last played" rule. This brings up my wish list for itunes, perhaps someone out there can figure out a way to make these happen:

1) being able to do "and" and "or" at the same time! -- so I could change list above to say
Genre is Rock OR
Genre contains Alternative OR
Genre does not contain 2 AND
I really don't understand whats so hard about that

2) allow exceptions to certain rules --
Last Played is not in the last 14 days, unless the song is "Brand New"
aka newly imported music would ignore my "last played is not in the last 14 days" .. I want to hear these songs every day until I get used to them.. then I can rate them properly. Can you imagine the possibilities with this one?

3) Priority in picking songs -- I would like to be able to give a song odds that it will be grabbed for a smartplaylist. The lower the odds the less chance that it will get picked. It seems to me this is nearly set up already when you consider the star rankings. But the odds would need to be added as a feature of the smartplaylist.

And my biggest wish: better random... random is horrible. I know I could use the randomizor scripts but they are just a pain and defeat the purpose of the ipod and live updating.

And so post ends. Hope that helps somebody.

by Klevn on Feb 03 | 7:00 am


To get AND and OR in the same SPL, just add playlists. For instance, to do (Rock OR Alternative) AND no 2, just do this:

SPL1: genre is rock OR genre is alternative
SPL2: genre has no 2 AND playlist is SPL1

Now SPL2 will hold all of those songs that are either Rock or Alternative but not Rock2 or Alternative2.

For 2, allowing exceptions... same thing. Make a list of songs that are not brand new and that haven't been played in the last 14 days. Then make another list that is brand new. Finally, make the list you'll listen to, which is simply that they are in playlist1 or playlist2.

For 3, ditto. Make a list of your 5 star songs, say, selecting 150 by random. Then make a list of your 4-5 star songs, selecting 100 by random. Then make a list of your 3-5 star songs, selecting 50 by random. Finally, for the SPL you listen to make it select 150 songs from any of PL1, PL2, or PL3. Now the odds are much better that you'll be hearing 5 star songs, and you are guaranteed some of them, but you'll still get a few 3 star.

I _believe_ that with referential SPLs (SPLs that select from other SPLs), you can do any logical combination of any of the selection criteria you like.

The only problem is that live updating doesn't work entirely correctly. Ho hum.

by Penguiny on Apr 19 | 11:10 pm

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