All Inclusive Mix

Smart Playlists
I've been using iTunes for over 2 years now and up until recently I'd been listening pretty much exclusively to my "My Top Rated" playlist of 4 and 5 star music (which was about 2000 songs out of my 7000 song library). But I realized I was missing out on a lot of newly added music that I never rated and older stuff that I had rated lowly but then later changed my mind on so I needed to find a solution. Browsing around here I realized I could nest playlists and proportion how much of what I was getting by using limits (previously I couldn't image why you ever want to limit a playlist), and now I've created what I consider to be the ultimate playlist.

Component playlists:
I have a non-music playlist that filters out all my videos/digital booklets/audiobooks/itrip stations/etc that is excluded from all of the following

SPL 1: (This pulls up highly rated new music that I haven't listened to much)
match ALL
1) My rating is in the range 4-5 stars
2) Last played is not in the last 1 day
3) Last skipped is not in the last 1 week
4) Playcount is less than 5
limit to 100 by most recently added

SPL 2: (This pulls up unrated or lowly rated new music that I haven't listened to much)
match ALL
1) My rating is in the range 0-3 stars
2) Last played is not in the last 1 day
3) Last skipped is not in the last 1 week
4) Playcount is less than 4
limit to 55 songs by most recently added

SPL 3: (This pulls up higher rated music that I have listened to at least some)
match ALL
1) My rating is in the range 3-5 stars
2) Last played is not in the last 1 day
3) Last skipped is not in the last 1 week
4) Playcount is greater than 5
limit to 30 songs by random

SPL 4: (This is a catch all so I don't miss anything else)
match ALL
1) Last played is not in the last 1 day
2, 3, 4) Playlist is not SPL 1, SPL 2, or SPL 3
limit to 15 songs by random

The active playlist that I use to listen to (you could just put them in a folder but that doesn't show up on the ipod):
match ANY
1-4) Playlist is SPL 1, SPL 2, SPL 3, or SPL 4

This playlist gives me 200 songs total, usually ranging 11-12 hours which is the maximum I can imagine listening to in a day, I sync my iPod every night. If I were going out of town I'd multiply the limits by however many day's I'd be gone.

by Carrie on Nov 25 | 7:38 am

 "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

 Forgotten Favourites

Smart Playlists
Last played - is not in the last - 7 days
Last skipped - in not in the last - 7 days
Play count - is greater than 10 (adjust appropriately)
Skip count - is less than - 10.

by Dan Hardy on Nov 23 | 9:42 am

 Clean X-Box 360 Play List

Smart Playlists
So I got my new X-Box 360 and was so stoked to find out that will play songs from my iPod. So I hooked it up started playing PGR3 and an Easy E song came on. Of course the kids where not home so for that moment it was ok. But I thought to myself “I need a play list that my kids can listen to”. So I set out on a quest to build a clean play list that was limited to 100 of my favorite songs (Xbox will not play more then 100 songs in a play list).

I started by downloading Evil Lyrics from www.evillabs.sk/evillyrics/ If you are not familiar with Evil Lyrics, it downloads the lyrics of the current song you are listing to into a cache on your computer.

My next step was to download a script (http://ottodestruct.com/iTunes/EvilLyricsImport.txt) from Otto that would allow me to grab the cached lyrics and insert them into the lyrics tag of the MP3 file.
But then I ran into the issue of having to run the script everyday (I know lazy) so I added it as a windows scheduled task. You can find the Task Scheduler under My Computer. Just point it at the JS file and set a time and date to run. I did everyday at 5 pm.

So know I have the lyrics for all of my songs I went back to Otto and asked him if there is a way to find all of the bad words in the lyrics of a song and add explicit to the comments if it found a bad word and to add clean if it did not. Of course he wrote something and it worked great (http://ottodestruct.com/iTunes/explicit.txt). Otto is the man.

So my next step was to rate all of my music using the iTunes “Star” rating system with 5 as my favorites and 1 for my deletes.

Ok, so to recap what I have so far;

A. All of my music has the lyrics
B. All of my music has a rating of clean or explicit in the comments
C. All of my music is rated with the “Star” system with a 1- 5

So let’s get to the play list:

==My Rating - is - 5 star
==Play count - is greater then – 5 (this is up to you)
==Kind – is – MPEG (the Xbox will not play AAC without a plug in)
==Comment – does not contain – Explicit

Limit to 100 songs
Live Updating

You can tweak the rest from here. I’m sure you don’t want you favorite podcast playing when you are racing wheel to wheel. Or do you….;-)

Just a side bar, you can find me on Live at http://live.xbox.com/member/Chris Henley

by Chris Henley on Nov 18 | 8:08 am

 Use Consistent Adjectives

Smart Playlists
Merlin Mann kicked off a great discussion at 43 folders which inspired me to write up my system.

One of the best things I found for keeping smart playlists organized is to use consistent adjectives as a shorthand for a set of conditions. For example, "Fresh" means "not played in the last 30 days", "Favorite" means in the top 10% of most played, 5* means, well, five stars, and U is unrated.

I create a large baseline list of music I want on my iPod, then use the adjectives to describe useful subsets. One modification I'm thinking of would be to put the "noun" part first (Springsteen, AltRock, etc), rather than the adjective. If I want The Boss, it's easier to wheel down to the "S" playlists then remember if it's a "Favorite" or "Least Recently Played" list...

by Sys Admn on Nov 16 | 2:18 pm

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