Monday, March 16, 2009

Best iTunes smart playlist of all time: Preferred Pepper

iTunes is a great media manager, some may say bloated and blah blah blah...., maybe it is but it is also very powerful and does mostly everything I would want it to do. One thing that was initially difficult to do was create my ideal playlist.

My ideal playlist is one that will accomplish the following:
  • Play forever, refreshing/regenerating itself
  • Play my favorite songs more often, but let me hear something from the rest of my library as well
  • Dynamically adjust what I hear based on how much I like it
  • Let me hear new music more often
Accomplishing all these criteria is currently impossible in one playlist, but with a little ingenuity we can accomplish our goal. I'm sure you can also use the principal ideas here to create this same playlist in other media managers.

Let's Create some Playlists:

Create these Smart Playlist in order:

  1. Smart Playlist Name: "Preferred Pepper -- Base". We first want to create a playlist to exclude the junk we don't want to hear (I don't want to hear holiday music, my kids' music or music I've already played or skipped already today, create something like this you can always add to it later)

  2. Now create the following playlists, we'll base all of these off the first list so we only have to exclude our stuff once. These playlist let us determine how often we'd like to hear music based on ratings. Playlists Names: "Preferred Pepper - A" Through "Preferred Pepper - D" and "Preferred Pepper -- Unrated" (Note: to change the chance of something being played raise or lower the limit of items for desired playlist)

  1. One playlist left to tie everything together, Smart Playlist Name: "Preferred Pepper", please note use "Match any of the following rules:"

You're all done!!!!!!
Now when you want to have a listen just shuffle the "Preferred Pepper" playlist on your iPod or in iTunes go to "Party Shuffle" (recently renamed "iTunes DJ") and choose "Preferred Pepper" as the source.

  1. I rate my music based on the grading scale A = 5 Stars B= 4 Stars, etc..., it helps me thing how I'd like to rate them.
  2. You'll want to rate your songs from now on by how much you want to listen to them, not how much you like the song. I'd recommend rating lower than you'd initially think.
  3. To change the chance of music being played just raise or lower the rating.
  4. If your iPod/MP3 Player isn't as large as your library do the following:
  • Limit the size of your "Prefered Pepper -- Base" to something slightly smaller than the capacity of your iPod/MP3 player.
  • Create another non-smart playlist named: "Preferred Pepper -- Base Static" and once a week delete the list of songs in this playlist and copy the contents of the "Preferred Pepper -- Base". Now base all of your rated playlist off of the "Static" playlist. Sync this playlist as well as all your rating playlist to your iPod/MP3 player and do not sync the "Preffered Pepper -- Base".
  • I know the above is not that clear so if I get enough request I'll post the screen shots of this.
  • BTW - very important make sure to check "Match Only Checked Items."