Taking control of iTunes Smart Playlists

GimmeSlack12

macrumors 603
Original poster
Apr 29, 2005
5,395
7
San Francisco
So I take pride in the organization of my iTunes library of about 19GB's of songs but I realize that I still have fragments of albums strewn throughout my library. I tend to only rip my own CD's so that I have the entire album, and I shuffle my songs by album because I am not a fan of completely random mix of 3700 songs. So I have set out to make a playlist of only my full albums. So I set the "Grouping" tag on all my complete albums to 'Full Album' and set a smart playlist to group those albums together.

This isn't a mind blowing idea but I thought I'd share, and would also be curious if anyone is doing some mind blowing stuff with the smart playlists. Care to share?
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
6
Adelaide, Australia
Nice tip. :cool:

I'm the opposite. I delete everything in the tracks' Get Info pane apart from song name and artist. I have a large library (23,000 songs all named properly) and this is the only way to keep things in alphabetical order. My Smart Playlists are just collections of artists but I play them in random order. :)
 

spicyapple

macrumors 68000
Jul 20, 2006
1,725
0
I fill in complete info: artist, album, year, track number, disc number, genre, and album art. I'm really picky about this sort of stuff.
 

pagansoul

macrumors 65816
Aug 10, 2006
1,041
40
Earth
The songs I really love I have the lyrics filled in. I also use artist for my smart list. I just got a 80g because my 20g could not contain my current collection of over 6000 songs not counting my music videos and fan vids. I'm just beginning to play with the smart list and figure out how itunes puts things in its catagories.
 

islandman

macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2006
356
0
This is a very clever way to use Smart Playlists. I created a similar playlist for my gapless albums.
 

rockstarjoe

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2006
850
54
washington dc
Some Smart Playlists

If you listen to Hip Hop, you are no doubt familiar with the annoying "skits" between tracks. Usually they are funny the first time, and then you never want to hear them again. So I made a Smart Playlist like this: Genre = Hip Hop / Track Length IS MORE THAN 1 minute" Then I named it "Hip Hop No Skits."

Another idea; I really like the feature on the Shuffle where it will just automatically fill up your ipod with music. My girlfriend wanted the same feature on her Nano, so I made a Smart Playlist that chose 2 GB of songs from her top rated music chosen at random and set the Nano to update from that list. Whenever she wanted to update it she could just highlight all of the songs in the list and hit Delete, and it would auto-fill with 2GB of new songs. I thought that was a neat trick.
 

Tom B.

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2006
1,459
0
London
Something that i would be interested to find out would be how you rate your songs. Personally, i have done mine in a way that may seem wierd to all of you, (If it is not rated 5*, i do not want to listen to it) so it is like this:

1* - Why do I even have this on my computer?
2* - Same as above
3* - I don't hate it, but i am never going to listen to it on purpose.
4* - It's OK, but still not what i want to listen to all of the time.
5* - What i actually want to listen to.

Also, this may not be common with all music, but people that like Hip Hop/Rap, when you have songs with multiple artists, do you list them like this...

Song: Stomp (Featuring The Game & Ludacris)
Artist: Young Buck

...or this

Song: Stomp
Artist: Young Buck, The Game & Ludacris

I prefer the second one, but what do the rest of you think?
 

SmickG5

macrumors newbie
Jan 14, 2008
5
0
I fill in complete info: artist, album, year, track number, disc number, genre, and album art. I'm really picky about this sort of stuff.
Yea I'm the same exact way. A lot of things I download don't have album covers already embedded in the ID3 tags so I just download the covers and paste them in.
 

GimmeSlack12

macrumors 603
Original poster
Apr 29, 2005
5,395
7
San Francisco
Yea I'm the same exact way. A lot of things I download don't have album covers already embedded in the ID3 tags so I just download the covers and paste them in.
Have you tried using Clutter? It'll paste the album art into every song of an album (command-K).
 

motulist

macrumors 601
Dec 2, 2003
4,055
329
Something that i would be interested to find out would be how you rate your songs. Personally, i have done mine in a way that may seem wierd to all of you, (If it is not rated 5*, i do not want to listen to it) so it is like this:

1* - Why do I even have this on my computer?
2* - Same as above
3* - I don't hate it, but i am never going to listen to it on purpose.
4* - It's OK, but still not what i want to listen to all of the time.
5* - What i actually want to listen to.
That seems like a pretty useless rating system to me. Here's how I have my ratings set up:

5 = Only my absolutely favorite songs
4 = very good songs
3 = average songs (the ones that are not terrible, but not special either

Now here's the really cool part. This system leaves the last 2 stars available to use as 'information bits' for when I'm using my iPod. As far as I know, the only information you can actually write while using an iPod is 1) which albums are on your on-the-go playlist, and 2) what star rating a song has.

So that means with my last two stars I can write info to the songs on my iPod:

2 = remove this song from the iPod and go through the rest of the songs in this album to decide which to keep on the iPod and which to remove
1 = remove this album from the iPod

unchecked = below average songs I never want to listen to but want to keep in my library for completeness.


My system is awesome! :D
 

Lackadaisical

macrumors newbie
Jan 14, 2008
1
0
I'm a bit crazy as far as my smart play lists go. I arrange my playlists by the type of mood they convey: Ambient, Beats, Dance, Eighties, Mellow, Poppy, Rock, Synth, etc. Each of these broad categories is a smart playlist that encompasses various genres that I specify. I usually listen through them on my computer and rate them on the fly. For my iPod I parse them down to very specific qualifications -- I create a master playlist of 4 and 5 star rated songs and a randomized playlist of 3 (meh) and 0 star (unrated) rated songs and set this last playlist to whatever amount of space I may have left on the iPod. These are then fed through the aforementioned 'mood' playlists to meet both specifications, thereby creating the perfect playlists - all of my favorite songs, some decent filler, and some surprise unrated songs to mix things up.

Anyways - I now have a more ambitious project and am hoping someone can help me. I have a TON of unrated songs and getting through them is sometimes challenging. I usually just listen to the most recent one's I've acquired. But there's a sort of dichotomy in these most recent songs that I'm trying to overcome. When I listen to unrated albums I go through the whole thing, no problem, BUT I have a lot of songs that are the only one for a specific artist and can get lost amid the albums. (For example: a sample song for one super obscure artist taken off of a music blog)

My quest is this:
To create a playlist of unrated songs, specifically for the artists for whom I only have ONE song. This will let me gauge the artist (roughly) and see if I should go about getting more songs by them or else just toss the file and clean up the space between albums.

So if there's any way to sort by either the number of songs per artist or the occurrence of an artist in a playlist while keeping in mind the 0 rating and keeping it 'smart' that would be amazing! Any help would be greatly appreciated for my lofty pursuit.

Also - I think I'm on the right track by working with track number ... but alas, those only tend to work where detailed album info is provided.
 

SmickG5

macrumors newbie
Jan 14, 2008
5
0
Have you tried using Clutter? It'll paste the album art into every song of an album (command-K).
Well the thing with most of my music that doesn't contain album covers already is that they are mixtapes (rap). Most of which aren't sold in stores, only through mixtape websites or on the streets of Camden, Philly, New York, etc...

I'll try your idea but I doubt it's going to fix my problem.
 

GimmeSlack12

macrumors 603
Original poster
Apr 29, 2005
5,395
7
San Francisco
Well the thing with most of my music that doesn't contain album covers already is that they are mixtapes (rap). Most of which aren't sold in stores, only through mixtape websites or on the streets of Camden, Philly, New York, etc...

I'll try your idea but I doubt it's going to fix my problem.
Oh, in that case it won't work. Heck I doubt you'll find anything that has a database of that kind of music artwork (if there is artwork). That stuff is just too rare.

My quest is this:
To create a playlist of unrated songs, specifically for the artists for whom I only have ONE song. This will let me gauge the artist (roughly) and see if I should go about getting more songs by them or else just toss the file and clean up the space between albums.

So if there's any way to sort by either the number of songs per artist or the occurrence of an artist in a playlist while keeping in mind the 0 rating and keeping it 'smart' that would be amazing! Any help would be greatly appreciated for my lofty pursuit.
You could kinda do what I do. First make a smart playlist of songs with rating 0. Then add a grouping title to songs that aren't part of a complete album. By playing this playlist you can then rate a song. Once the song gets a rating it will no longer have a 0 rating and automatically be removed from the list.
 

kuebby

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2007
1,556
1
NorCal
Something that i would be interested to find out would be how you rate your songs. Personally, i have done mine in a way that may seem wierd to all of you, (If it is not rated 5*, i do not want to listen to it) so it is like this:

1* - Why do I even have this on my computer?
2* - Same as above
3* - I don't hate it, but i am never going to listen to it on purpose.
4* - It's OK, but still not what i want to listen to all of the time.
5* - What i actually want to listen to.

Also, this may not be common with all music, but people that like Hip Hop/Rap, when you have songs with multiple artists, do you list them like this...

Song: Stomp (Featuring The Game & Ludacris)
Artist: Young Buck

...or this

Song: Stomp
Artist: Young Buck, The Game & Ludacris

I prefer the second one, but what do the rest of you think?
Always the first one for sure. With the second option you end up with hundreds of artists, many of which with only one song. It keeps my collection more orderly to use the first option.
 

peeaanuut

macrumors 65816
Sep 10, 2007
1,048
0
Southern California
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A93 Safari/419.3)

I do the 2nd with a twist. I put the main artist in the album artist field so it files correctly on the computer. This way I can do smart plalists off of the artist field. Such as artist contains X and I get DMX and Sadat X and X Clan etc.

I use the ratings for easy syncing with my fiancé. She gets 4 star and a smart playlist of all 4 stars. All her stuff is country so I don't like it anyways and on my playlists I just it the 4 star stuff and I am good to go.
 

phairphan

macrumors 6502a
Sep 21, 2005
596
214
Reject Beach
That seems like a pretty useless rating system to me. Here's how I have my ratings set up:

5 = Only my absolutely favorite songs
4 = very good songs
3 = average songs (the ones that are not terrible, but not special either

Now here's the really cool part. This system leaves the last 2 stars available to use as 'information bits' for when I'm using my iPod. As far as I know, the only information you can actually write while using an iPod is 1) which albums are on your on-the-go playlist, and 2) what star rating a song has.

So that means with my last two stars I can write info to the songs on my iPod:

2 = remove this song from the iPod and go through the rest of the songs in this album to decide which to keep on the iPod and which to remove
1 = remove this album from the iPod

unchecked = below average songs I never want to listen to but want to keep in my library for completeness.


My system is awesome! :D
That's the EXACT system I use. Very handy.
 

SmickG5

macrumors newbie
Jan 14, 2008
5
0
Oh, in that case it won't work. Heck I doubt you'll find anything that has a database of that kind of music artwork (if there is artwork). That stuff is just too rare.
There is artwork for them, but some of the covers are scanned in and are ****** quality. Or some people write on the front the names of their groups so again the image is ****** quality.