Ultimate Playlist

Smart Playlists
I was trying to find the perfect mixed playlist... the kind you want to put on and just leave on shuffle for hours. Obviously, like many people, I have more 4-star than 5-star songs, more 3-star than 4-star, and so on. I also have a lot of 2 and 3-star songs I haven't listened to yet.

First I made a "Starting Point" playlist that excluded Classical, Opera, Audiobooks, etc. - any genres I don't want popping up in random playlists. I also exclude albums I've labelled under the grouping field as "Full-Album", albums you want to listen to end-to-end, not have mixed into random lists. Songs longer than 12 minutes are also excluded. Finally, I also excluded 3 bands who I have a LOT more music of than other artists - everyone probably has a couple artists like this.

I then made nine playlists, the first six selecting only from this "Starting Point" playlist.

5-star songs 
not heard in the last 3 days. 
This comes to about 12 hours

4-star songs not heard in the last 7 days
limited to 12 hours
selected by least recently played

3-star songs
not heard in the last 14 days
limited to 3 hours
selected by least recently played

3-star songs
with Play Count=0
limited to 3 hours
selected by random

2-star songs
not heard in the last 28 days
limited to 1 hour
selected by least recently played

2-star songs
with Play Count=0
limited to 1 hour
selected by random

The seventh, eighth and ninth playlists do not select from the "Starting Point" playlist. Instead, each selects an hour's worth of 3-5 star tracks from the 3 artists I excluded earlier, selected by least recently played.

My master playlist (which is the only one of these that I actually sync to my iPod) combines these 9 playlists.

My final playlist is about 34% 5-star, 34% 4-star, 17% 3-star (split between unheard and least recently heard tracks), 6% 2-star (split like 3-star), and 9% out of my favourite 3 artists. The music I like the most is refreshed most rapidly, the music I like the least won't be heard more than once a month.

by dharmabum on Aug 04 | 8:00 am


Does playlist number 1 update by itself after three days? I've tried one similar but I don't it live updated. I must have missed a step--though I did use live update.

by Bakari on Aug 04 | 1:15 pm

Looks like hours of listening fun!!

One thing, though; you might notice that playlist six will end up with lots of short songs on it, and very few long ones. When you select songs by random to fit a certain number of minutes, the elapsed time of the total songs will generally fall short of the minute limit. When you play one song, iTunes will fill the SPL up to the limit again with new songs. However, these songs will always be shorter than the songs that came off the list (the minute limit keeps them from being longer). So after a couple of weeks, you will have lots of short tracks and no long ones on the list.

My suggestion is to limit the SPL to 12 songs instead of 1 hour and then iTunes will not choose replacement songs by length.

by talking_animal on Aug 06 | 10:42 am

Hey, I had a question about this post. Do you select Any for conditions or All? I mean, when it asks to match all conditions, nothing shows up in the playlist I made that grabs all the other playlists, but when I select to match any, it grabs them.


by Seeker on Oct 24 | 4:00 pm

I used this method but instead of using 3 favorite groups I used genres and I also included a ne list that included fresh songs with a play count of 0 to 100.

by Red Flame on May 26 | 3:07 pm

Sounds like a pretty good method. I may change the parameters because my collection is most likely smaller then yours ;)

I ask about ONLY syncing that "End" Playlist. Don't you need the others in order for the end smart playlist to recognize the songs that need it?

Thanks :)

by TaylorH on Aug 25 | 4:07 pm

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