Posted by Neil Crosby on April 7, 2005 11:11 PM
Whilst writing my dissertation I’ve been doing a lot of research into automatic playlist generation. The application which I’ve been writing will create playlists for you based on the songs that you’ve listened to whilst you’ve been in certain moods, and suggest songs in your collection that you’ve not listened to yet but which fit into that mood.
This mood based generation of playlists is not something that can be done effectively with iTunes’ Smart Playlists function, but there is certainly plenty that you can do. SmartPlaylists.com is a website that I found this week which people use to post the Smart Playlists which they use on their system. It’s a fantastic site if you use Smart Playlists (Windows Media Player has a very similar Auto Playlists function), and SmartPlaylists.com has become my new favourite website of the moment.
One thing that I recently discovered that it was possible to do with Smart Playlists in iTunes was to create playlists which use another playlist as their source (“Be Exclusive” section). Although this has been a feature of iTunes since 4.5, it’s just something that I’d never noticed before. Now that I have though, I can’t get enough of the feature!
If you’ve used Smart Playlists before, you’ll know that they can get a bit complicated if you use a lot of criteria to create them. What using another playlist as a source allows you to do is outsource some of that complexity to another playlist. This, of course, also means that your final playlist is easier to understand.
Say, for example, that you had a playlist containing all the songs that you had added to your iTunes library recently, but had not played yet. If you wanted to create another playlist which added the criterion that it was a “Rock & Roll” song, you could duplicate the previous playlist and add the “Rock &Roll” criterion. However, it would probably be more sensible to simply create a new Smart Playlist which included the “Added Recently, but Unplayed” playlist and added the “Rock & Roll” criterion. This would be described in iTunes as follows:
Match ALL of the following conditions: - Playlist is Added Recently, but Unplayed - Genre is Rock & Roll
Of course, that is only a simple example, but hopefully you get the idea. My currently most used Smart Playlist is a much more complicated compound example which I use to provide 90 minutes of music to listen to before I go to bed at night:
Match ANY of the following conditions: - Playlist is 60 minutes Base - Playlist is 60 minutes Unheard - Playlist is 30 minutes recently added (but not played today) Limit to 90 minutes selected by random
That feeds into the following playlists:
60 minutes base: Match ALL of the following conditions: - Last played is in the last 1 weeks - My Rating is not *.... - Playcount is less than 5 - Time is less than 8:00 - Playlist is not Christmas - Playlist is not Classical - Playlist is not Comedy Limit to 60 minutes selected by random Live updating 60 minutes unheard: Match ALL the following conditions: - Playcount is 0 Limit to 60 minutes selected by random Live updating 30 minutes recently added (but not played today): Match ALL the following conditions: - Last played is not in the last 1 days - Date added is in the last 2 weeks Limit to 30 minutes selected by random Live updating
This compound playlist ensures that I get a varied mix of new and old music at bedtime which contains a nice smattering of stuff that I’ve not listened to since I first installed iTunes. So far it’s working really very well for me - I’m ending up listening to quite a lot of good stuff that I’d forgotten I even owned.
So, do you use any sort of Smart Playlisting system? What Smart Playlists do you have in your collection that you really like?
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