Looking for the perfect mix

Those that know me know I’m extremely particular in my playlists and my tagging when it comes to my digital audio files on iTunes. Not only do I do the usual genre tags, I take it a step further and use the grouping tags to fill in sub-genres for each song. For example, with the R&B/Soul genre, I use the grouping field to designate Contemporary R&B and Neo-Soul, since there is a difference in the two. Beyond that, I make sure every file is rated upon entry to my collection.

What this does is allow me to create self-updating “smart playlists” that give me exactly what I want when it comes to genre, sub-genre, and rating. But after finding an article about creating playlists that filter music in and out according to how often they’re played and how they’re rated, I decided to do more research into creating smart playlists on iTunes.

What I found was a response on another blog that used ratings as more of a priority. It went like this:

5-star (any song rated 5, not played in the last 3 days)
4-star (any song rated 4, not played in the last 2 weeks)
3-star (any song rated 3, not played in the last 6 weeks)
2-star (any song rated 2, not played in the last 6 months)
New (default setting in Itunes)
Unrated (any unrated song, not played in the last 4 weeks)

I then make a “hit radio” playlist, that just plays these 6 playlists mixed together. Perfect mix. When a song plays, you can then adjust the rating as required, it is easy to pick up on a song that you hear too often and drop it a star, or promote a great song you haven’t heard in a while.

You can also adjust the “last played” factor on each level to adjust to your preference & music library size.

You could easily add a “music playlist only” modifier to each rule playlist, but I just pre-emptively mark anything that I know I dont want in a music playlist as a 1-star. (comedy & spoken word stuff, as well as horrible songs that I don’t want to delete)

If that’s at all confusing to you, each individual line of rules is a separate smart playlist. Since I obviously don’t like music rated with one or two stars, I immediately phased that out, keeping the rules for 5,4, and 3 star ratings as well as my own personalization for new music. To take it a step further, I added a genre setting for each of these list so that they only play R&B/Soul. Then, I made a smart playlist combining the smart playlists I created.

What I have now is a very pleasing mix of songs, with the flexibility to change ratings on the fly to enable me to keep songs in rotation that I’m feelin’ at the moment and to lower the rotation on songs I’m not in the mood for at the moment. Lists like these also work nice for people who own iPod Shuffles, such as myself.

So, don’t be afraid to go deep into your music tags on whatever player you use on your computer. This will help you create better playlists in the future.



~ by Steve L. on November 11, 2006.

One Response to “Looking for the perfect mix”

  1. Yikes! And I can’t even get my album art to transfer!

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