101.5 KPOD

Smart Playlists
Instead of a playlist that delivers a completely arbitrary mix of tunes from anywhere and everywhere in my library, which I've grown tired of, with this one I set out to create an SPL that behaves much more like radio programming in three important ways:

1) It maintains a strong, but not exclusive, focus on new, recently added/recently rated music -- just like my favorite radio stations, which play 'what's hot' more often than 'all-time greats.' (I already have a bunch of rating-based playlists that do the latter.) But it still has the ability to deliver old favorites every so often, too.

2) It repeats songs a number of times, then discards them and puts new songs in those slots. I like this because it facilitates the memorization of songs and singalong-ability (again, especially but not only newly added music). More common playlists like those based on 'least recently played' don't do this, because after you hear a song -- new or old -- it could disappear for months.

3) There's a higher likelihood of hearing songs by the same artists, off the same album, near each other -- because in real life, artists release an album and, again, become 'hot' and their various new singles more frequently played.

Make all three SPLs, play the first:

101.5 KPOD: Match ANY
Playlist is SPL1
Playlist is SPL2
Limit to 1500MB by random

SPL1: Match ALL
My rating is greater than 3 stars
Play count is less than 5
Limit to 900MB by most recently added

SPL2: Match ALL
My rating is in the range 2-3 stars
Play count is less than 4
Limit to 600MB by most recently added


This SPL starts out playing almost purely new music (newly rated, that is), but it evolves: as each song reaches the specified playcount and 'graduates,' as it were, other songs will accede and replace them. The SPL thus walks backward through your library, but always captures new music, too.

I started out with this SPL right after changing HDs and resetting play counts, so it might be desirable to reset all playcounts, or else change the numbers above on the 'Play count is less than' variable. In any case, set that variable to whatever you want, however long you want a certain song to stick.

Fix the ratings and proportions to whatever you want. If you don't wanna hear 2-star songs at all, for instance, don't specify that.

KPOD can be used as a template for customizable genre- or year-based 'stations': for instance, just add a line (to both SPL1 and 2) like 'Genre contains Punk' for KPOD Punk, or 'Year is in the range 1980-1989' for KPOD Eighties. In such cases, though, you might want to reduce the size of the SPLs.

I chose the number '101.5' because I like SPLs that start with the number 1 -- they appear near the top of my list -- and 1.5 = 1.5GB, the SPL total size that worked best for my library (approx. 5000 rated songs).

by nyorker on Oct 05 | 8:00 am



This is terrific - - first time I've tried a playlist that references other playlists.

Most of my playlists to-date have been focused on a single characterisic (i.e., Genre; BPM; My Rating). I end up jumping in and out of them after 20-30 minutes, just to get some variety.

I tried "KPOD" this morning, and really felt like I was listening to my own, "personal" radio station, which had a lot more variety than any of my previous playlists. . . .

Thanks again!

by Scott on Oct 06 | 11:30 am

I agree, great playlist. I added a fun bonus: I have a SPL of all my "Singles" including alot of one-hit wonders and 80's music...I added this to my KPOD station SPL along with the 2 SPL's you suggested and get a great mix of music including these fun one hits every so often...

by Lionworks on Oct 11 | 10:42 pm

I added one additional wrinkle - make a third smart playlist that says "any of spl1 or spl2". at that point, you can then modify the KPOD script to say "all of (playlist is spl3) (playlist is not recently played)"

that way, if i listen to an album/song on another playlist, it doesn't pop up on this one.

by Dvorak on Oct 12 | 2:21 am

I solved the problem of songs from different playlists popping up when I change lists by assigning each sub-playlist as "not played in the last 1 day"

This whole idea is brilliant, I took the template and modified it to fit my needs a bit more. I assign my music by decade, with one star for the 80's, four for the 90's and 5 from 2000-present. Additionally, I have a "frestunes" list which all music I have added in the past three weeks. I have the following paramaters -

playlist 1 - 5 stars, count is less than 5
playlist 2 - 4 stars, count is less than 5
playlist 3 - 1 star, count is less than 5
playlist 4 - 1, 4 or 5 stars, count is greater than 5
playlist 5 - freshtunes, count less than 2
playlist 6 - unrated music (genre is not easy listening, oldies, jazz)

Each list is weighted accordingly, and I get the absolute perfect radio station with minimal skipping of tracks out of boredom.

I love this whole nested playlist idea, it opens up so many options that I hadn't thought of.

by skruggie on Oct 12 | 2:40 pm

yay, thx for the feedback ... i definitely recommend continually tinkering w/ the recipe. ppl interested in this thread and developing your own KPODs w/ nesting, also consider davepmiller's rad 'personal radio' post from august (archived) ... in a way 'KPOD' was inspired by his SPL, only intended to be more heavily oriented towards newly added music.

by nyorker on Oct 12 | 9:48 pm

I've now made some variations of my own 101.5 KPOD, as follows:

101.5 KPODRock:
Match ALL:
Playlist is "101.5 KPOD"
Genre is Rock

101.5 KPODDance
Match ALL:
Playlist is "101.5 KPOD"
Genre is Dance

...you get the idea. A playlist (101.5 KPODRock that references another playlist (101.5 KPOD) that, in turn, references *other* playlists (SPL1, SPL2 per above). . . .

by Scott on Oct 15 | 10:34 am

Yep, great playlist. Good enough for me to reset my playcount and give it a road test. I have tweaked the recipe a bit to suit my collection.

My rating is greater than 3, Play count less than 5, Last played is not last 1 day, Limit to 60 songs by most recently added

My rating is in range 2 to 3, Play count less than 5, Last played is not last 1 day, Limit to 20 songs by most recently added

My rating is in range 4 to 5, Dated added is not last 3 months, Last played is not last 1 day, Limit to 20 songs random

Finally the ‘Radio Station’ SPL: Match any: Playlist is SPL1, SPL2, SPL3

Early days but this should give me an ever-changing 100 song playlist of great recently added music with a sprinkling of old favourites.

by Krikey on Oct 17 | 1:19 am

Is anyone having a problem with the sub-playlists not live updating?

I feel like the lists aren't refreshing, and my "not played in the last 1 day" paramater that I have on each nested list isn't working.

by skruggie on Oct 20 | 6:43 pm

on the ipod there's a bug w/ nested playlists; they don't refresh w/o syncing =\ ... the way around it is to 1) clear On-the-Go and dump your SPL1, SPL2, etc.s in there, then play on shuffle songs, then clear and repeat when you want a refresh ... and 2) tell Apple that this bug really bugs you :P

if you don't sync every day you might increase the 'not played in the last' variable appropriately.

by nyorker on Oct 20 | 8:45 pm

I sync my ipod every night, so theoretically all of my nested lists should be refreshing, right? I assume that the ipod & itunes speak to each other and gets the information as to which songs were played that day, so that they don't repeat tomorrow?

by skruggie on Oct 21 | 11:56 am

Continue to enjoy this playlist. Have tweaked it a bit, too - - following a weekend of adding all of my Beatles CDs to the iPod (I *love* the Beatles, but didn't want 101.5 kPod to be "all Beatles, all the time..."

So, I added some more Smart Playlists to the mix - - basically, one for 2* rated songs, one for 3*, and one for 4-5* rated songs, selected by "Least Often Played".

The radio station now continues to highlight newly added material, but with an occasional old tune that I may not have heard in a while. . . Works GREAT!

by Scott on Nov 01 | 10:38 am

I have been tinkering with similar playlists, and after 6 months of listening to my music collection, I realized that there's one caveat:

SPLs which are limited either by size or length ("1500MB by random" or "6 hours by random") have a bias to short tracks.

The problem is that the algorithm which picks the next track by random picks it so that the resulting playlist is always smaller than the limit. This means that in order to have a long track added to the SPL, a long track has to drop out (and even then, it is more likely that several short tracks are chosen).

In my case, the result was that long tracks basically never got into the SPLs.

The fix is obviously to not limit the SPLs by length but by number of tracks. Since I have changed this, all the Pink Floyd stuff keeps playing a lot more than before ;-)

by Palmin on Nov 04 | 9:42 am

Nice one Palmin ... this same worry has occurred to me too. After some testing I remain undecided about 'MB by random' (which I don't recommend), but fortunately the short song bias is *not* a problem for 'MB by most recently added' or any of the others -- if you watch a m.r.a. SPL refresh, it's pretty clear that iTunes waits for enough space for the right song to accede. That's a good thing -- I wouldn't want 1:00 Wire and Minor Threat songs to kick the more verbose Sonic Youth off my KPOD! (they don't).

More generally for SPL construction, I've concluded that limiting by size is a good thing for iPod syncers who either have small iPods, or want to keep a specified amount of space free for say Belkin photo uploads. But it's a bad thing for people with music encoded at all different kinds of bitrates, because you get unpredictable results.

by nyorker on Nov 04 | 12:21 pm

When I first started playing with the new SPL capabilities, I started putting together Genre playlists which I then put together in a "Any: Playlist ist Genre1, Playlist ist Genre2". By limiting the "GenreX" playlists "x hours by random", this made it possible to have for example 60% Genre1 and 40% Genre2 in the by making them 6 hours and 4 hours respectively, which in principle makes it possible to nicely balance the playlists (normal random playlists in my Library are very biased to one Genre...)

Unfortunately, because of the problem I described, this was not really the solution (because long songs got never played), so limiting by song number for me was a workaround, but obviously if the different genres tend to have different playing times per song, this will bias the playlist again (so I had to fine-tune the number of songs per Genre-List).

I agree with your comments about the size.

by Palmin on Nov 04 | 1:44 pm

For those who say that the playing of short songs is a bad thing - how so? It's a radio station, they always lean more toward the shorter ones! :) Kidding...

A lot of you probably have (Live) or (accoustic) tagged to the part of some of your song names, so you could remove those, I suppose. It'd give it that more radio-station-style, since they mostly play recorded, not live songs.

It's a shame iTunes doesn't have some sort of way to block repeating artists on shuffle. For example, I have a ton of Nirvana tracks on my library, so it keeps playing their songs moreso than any other. Suggestions for that?

by Ryan on Nov 07 | 12:52 pm

Well, I have solved a similar problem (one artist being very prominent in my library) by having a SPL without this artist (something standard like random by least recently played), which is quite long (a few hundred songs), and then one playlist by this artist, with only very few songs, and then a SPL which takes tracks from both these lists. By changing the number of songs, you can adjust how many Nirvana tracks will be mixed into the SPL.

by Palmin on Nov 07 | 1:23 pm

Continue to enjoy "KPOD" but have a question. When I sync my iPod, the "feeder" SPLs are updated appropriately, but not the KPOD "master" SPL.

In order to get the KPOD "master" SPL to update appropriately, I have to sync my iPod a second time.

Anyone else run into this? I'm on iTunes 4.7 and have a 3G iPod (which, as far as I know, is updated with the latest 3G iPod software). .

Any thoughts / suggestions? Is this to be expected, or am I missing something?


- - Scott

by Scott on Nov 19 | 9:54 am

I *think* I've answered my own question (above). The 2nd sync. was not necessary to make the song lists coincide (iPod to iTunes), only the order. . . .


- - Scott

by Scott on Nov 22 | 10:39 am

So...what happens to a 5 Star song after it reaches your limit of plays? How will you ever hear it again?

by Westy on Feb 20 | 10:51 pm

If that's what you're looking for, try a variant like what Krikey suggested above with his SPL3.

by nyorker on Feb 24 | 5:21 pm

GREAT playlist! The only change I made was to change selection by MB to selection by number of tracks - I had a recently-added CD that was still in AIFF format that was taking up SPL #1 with about 8 songs. :-D

by WiFiUser on Jul 22 | 9:02 pm

I like the concept, but it seems like the final playlist tends to group songs together still, playing mostly 3 stars, then a bunch of 4 stars, etc, instead of scattering them throughout.

There doesn't seem to be a way, once a playlist is on the ipod, to shuffle the playlist?

by Aurock on Sep 01 | 1:42 pm

You must be logged in to post comments.


try this
red line

red line
red line
sites we like
red line


Powered by pMachine