The PhoneBoy Blog

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Fun With Smart Playlists in iTunes

I have to admit, I hadn’t been using iTunes all that much until recently. Now that I have some hard drive space, I can rip a few more songs and not worry that I will run out of disk space. And also, since Democracy Player is being problematic, I’m starting to use iTunes for all of my non-bittorrent content.

Meanwhile, having listened to MacBreak Weekly, I’ve heard Alex Lindsay complain about the Smart Playlists functionality, which doesn’t allow him to generate a playlist in the same way a DJ would do. So I decided to do a little Googling. There’s a whole website dedicated to Smart Playlists in iTunes. Read around and decided, hey, I can do this.

Since I kind of wanted to be ready to implement a Smart Playlist like Alex Lindsay wants, I figured I should start by rating all my music. Except I have a couple thousand tracks and really don’t want to go through it linearly. Sounds like a job for a Smart Playlist, so I devised one:

Unrated Playlist
I noticed that with “Live Updating” turned on that the minute I rated a song while playing a song in the “Unrated Playlist,” the song would immediately stop playing as it would disappear from the playlist. That is the reason I unchecked that box.

I still have over a thousand songs to rate, but I’ve made some progress. I don’t listen to all of the song, usually, I can usually decide within about 30 seconds. I will listen to some songs fully.

The next use for a Smart Playlist came about because I realized that I was having to hand-assemble a playlist of the Dr. Joy podcast so I could burn them to a CD. The reason is because the order it downloads them in is a bit different than I want to actually burn them to disk. Before I discovered this trick, I was hand-dragging a bunch of podcasts into a dummy playlist I had set up. Now, I use a Smart Playlist like this:
Dr Joy Playlist

I specifically want to exclude the “Best of” shows (which, thankfully, the folks at WOR actually note in the Description) and I want the files to be listed in order. One thing the “name” sorting did, which I didn’t expect, was that it recognized dates and sorted correctly based on the date. For example, it correctly sorted files with these titles (and they are listed in the order I wanted):

  • Dr Joy Browne – January 8th, 2007 – Hour 1
  • Dr Joy Browne – January 8th, 2007 – Hour 2
  • Dr Joy Browne – January 8th, 2007 – Hour 3
  • Dr Joy Browne – January 9th, 2007 – Hour 1
  • Dr Joy Browne – January 9th, 2007 – Hour 2
  • Dr Joy Browne – January 9th, 2007 – Hour 3
  • Dr Joy Browne – January 10th, 2007 – Hour 1
  • Dr Joy Browne – January 10th, 2007 – Hour 2
  • Dr Joy Browne – January 10th, 2007 – Hour 3

Now all I have to do is go into the Dr. Joy playlist I created, possibly correct errors in the ID3 tags in the files, and the playlist automatically sorts correctly. I can then burn the playlist to disc. I then begin the process of labeling my blank CDs and feed the MacBook until it’s done asking for them (or I run out). Nice trick!

#Cybersecurity Evangelist, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.