The Perfect Playlist

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
I've long taken an interest in finding the perfect set of songs for any given situation. The day at the beach, the drive home, the raging party, the chill Sunday evening, and on and on.



I've been at it since the days of the "Say Anything" glory of mix tapes. CD burning was an insanely good time. And now we have playlists - highly selective, intimately personal ways of shaping a situation. No tape hiss, no stacks of sloppily labeled mix CDs that outgrew their moment and use, and no waiting for your music to record.



It's a great step forward, but the playlist scheme is equally prone to disorganization and clutter. It's frustrating when--if you're like me--you like your music neatly organized, and you want that perfect song instantly accessible.



I've toyed around with a few ways to get iTunes to help you make that perfect playlist. The 5-star rating system is wonderful, and so are the smart playlists. I've even gone so far as to include lists of adjectives in the comment sections of some of my songs (a long, tedious process for a library of 2000+... I'm not nearly done). When I some upbeat, lighthearted, acoustic tunes, I create a smart playlist that finds all the songs with those buzz words in their comment sections, and a slew of Jack Johnson songs inevitably pops up. From these songs, I can pick & choose the ones I want to hear.



I would love to see the iTunes Search capability allow you to pick which tag(s) to search from a drop down menu right in the search bar. I'd also love to see hierarchical playlists & smart playlists to help reduce some of that clutter.



I'm curious: how do you make your on-the-fly, perfect playlist? How do you use iTunes to organize your music?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    generally i'm listening to "My Top Rated". If there's asong I'm not in the mood for, i fast forward and am usually with a click or two of a song I like and want to be hearing.



    Otherwise, there is the "Top Played" which kinda similar to top rated.



    I havent gotten to micor-organising my playlists yet. Im still importing the sporadic CD or two and actually have two libraries (work and then at home) and gotta figure out ho wto merge the two (and keep my ratings). I wish the ratings were embedded in the damn meta-info, would make life easier.



    Otherwise, I cant really see how to top your organisation skills!



    And btw, welcome to AI
  • Reply 2 of 6
    ipodandimacipodandimac Posts: 3,273member
    my friends laugh at me for how anal i am about my music library. i'm the same way--when i want a certain song or kind of music, it better be there fast. i came up with a one-letter system in my comment tags to help define smart playlist and similar music. i'm somewhat specific with genre, but i lump similar ones together (rock and alternative). i then have separate playlists for hard rock and metal, because they are different breeds of rock and fit a different mood. i also use the grouping tag and sort of a last resort when i need more description. an album may have different combinations of comment 'letters' in each song, but if it's all acoustic, i set the grouping to acoustic and have a smart playlist for that. above all, i just make playlists when i'm in certain moods so i can go back to them later. multiple on-the-go playlists is awesome, so now i can load up any playlist and modify it right on the ipod. ok that was all random and there's more to my system than that, but whatever.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    I have a top 99 most played playlist, an some other playlists with some of my favorite artists (Eels, Billy Corgan, Collective Soul, Foo Fighters), electronic music (Chemical Bros, Fatboy Slim, Air). Then I have this playlist named "Happy Soda" which is a compilation of catchy, upbeat songs that get me in a good mood. I think I should have more playlists like that... Like, a darker, louder playlist (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Metallica) and a Pop playlist, stuff like that. Maybe a one-hit wonder playlist would be cool too.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    xoolxool Posts: 2,460member
    "Happy Soda"... I love it.



    All my iPod specific playlists are prefixed with iPod. I have 20+ GB of music and a 4 GB mini, so I have a fare bit o' music wrangling to do.



    I used to listen to my music by album. I still do this too. But recently I got in to the shuffle habit, and now I want to clear off a lot of the whole, good albums on mini and replace it with random stuff.



    A designer friend of mine always though that if you don't listen to music by a full album, you'll miss out on many of the hidden jems. While I sorta see where he's coming from, if you don't limit your shuffled songs to the top-rated ones, the hidden jems will still pop up in your shuffled mix.



    Now all I got to do is get my iPod mini's battery replaced before the 1 year warranty is up. \
  • Reply 5 of 6
    staudtestaudte Posts: 13member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ZO

    Im still importing the sporadic CD or two and actually have two libraries (work and then at home) and gotta figure out ho wto merge the two (and keep my ratings). I wish the ratings were embedded in the damn meta-info, would make life easier.





    I tried about a month ago to get the ratings info from my work library to my home computer library, but with no success. I tried modifying the <iTunes Music Library.xml> file by hand, but iTunes didn't reflect the modified meta data. Anyone know how iTunes reads/displays that data from the .xml file?
  • Reply 6 of 6
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by staudte

    I tried about a month ago to get the ratings info from my work library to my home computer library, but with no success. I tried modifying the <iTunes Music Library.xml> file by hand, but iTunes didn't reflect the modified meta data. Anyone know how iTunes reads/displays that data from the .xml file?



    The XML version of the iTunes Library functions as a back-up for the (now encrypted since iTunes 4) binary version of the Library, "iTunes 4 Music Library". The only way for changes in the XML to take effect is for you to convince iTunes that the binary file is damaged. Simple moving or deleting the binary file doesn't do it, oddly enough -- if you move or delete the binary, iTunes comes up empty, and (isn't this wonderful!?) trashes the old contents of the XML file at the same time.



    Arbitrarily mangle "iTunes 4 Music Library" with a hex editor, however, or replace "iTunes 4 Music Library" with a one-byte long file of the same name, and iTunes will happily reconsitute itself from the XML file.



    You lose a few settings when you do this that apparently are in the binary file, but aren't in the XML, such as column settings (which columns in playlists you have showing, in which order, at what widths). Also, even though this info is in the XML, "Date Added" for every track becomes the date that the Library is rebuilt.
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