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Smart playlists

January 20, 2009

I wanted to follow up my post on the recent developments at itunes with something on the wonderful things you can do to find new ways of grouping and listening to your music collection. This is a revamped version of a post I wrote a while ago for another blog.

Making playlists is easy right? Well I don’t know about you but I always seem to end up listening to the same old things when creating playlists the old fashioned way i.e. dragging and dropping songs from your library into a new list. So recently I’ve been looking for new and interesting ways to group my music. I’m no good with genres as I can never decide whether a song falls into one genre or another. So I’ve started using Smart Playlists in itunes to mix things up a bit.

I stumbled upon them while looking for new and interesting ways to group my songs. The best thing about them is the ability to listen to a varied group of songs that have nothing in common in terms of style or genre except the theme that you have used to group them together. Often it’s a complete mystery what is coming next and even better is trying to work out why on earth a song has ended up on a particular list.
 
To make a smart playlist you need first to decide on a theme e.g. colours. Next you need to make a list of keywords that match this theme, i.e. for the colours playlist you would choose the names of some colours. Next you search for these keywords in your iTunes library and add the theme of the playlist to the comments field in the song’s information section. Finally select the ‘New Smart Playlist’ option in the File menu and under ‘Match the following rule’ select Comment contains theme name.
 
Here are the smart playlists I’ve made recently:

Anatomy
Keywords: head, heart, hand, leg, arm, eye, finger, toe, knee
 
Colours
Keywords: red, blue, green, yellow, purple, black, white, silver, gold, gray
 
Numbers
Keywords: 1-9, plus written one to ten
NB. Some searches come up with parts of words e.g. stone
 
Time
Keywords: minute, hour, second, day, week, month, year
 
Travel
Keywords: car, train, bike, plane, boat, walk, road, drive, ship

It may take you some time to set these up but I hope you’ll find it’s well worth it.

Stay tuned for a future post on Genius, another cool iTunes tool.

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