Effective Playlist Management

Since a lot of you either got iPods last year during this time of year or may be getting one from Santa this year, I thought I'd share my system for song management using iTunes (the ubergeeks out there who think iTunes is teh sux0rs can ignore this, obviously). iTunes does have its deficiencies, but it actually is great at playlist management. Personally, I have the 20GB fourth generation (click wheel) iPod, but I have about 60GB of music in my iTunes library. Given that, my first step is based on a tip I found somewhere or other (I totally forget where...): I have a normal playlist (the kind you have to physically drag songs into) that I call "_General". This playlist serves as my iPod library. I fill that playlist up to about 18.5GB, which is the iPods actual capacity -- at least that's what I've seen with mine.

Here's where it gets fun...

The next step is to create some "smart" playlists based on the "_General" playlist. Be sure to set "Match *ALL* of the following rules" for all of them.


  • "_Unheard"
    • Playlist is _General
    • Play Count is 0
  • "_Recent & New"
    • Playlist is _General
    • Year is greater than 2004
    • Date Added is in the last 6 months
  • "_Favorites"
    • Playlist is _General
    • My Rating is greater than 3 stars

I also recently started using the Comments meta field (Select a song and do "Get Info" to edit the meta data.) to tag my music a la Flickr, del.icio.us, and all those other Web 2.0 cool kids. The "smart" playlists for those look like this:

  • "_Cool Kids"
    • Playlist is _General
    • Comment contains coolkids

And yes, that's a real example.

Another modification I'm thinking about trying is to use two "normal" playlists -- one for my stand-by stuff that I just have to have on my iPod at all times and another high flux playlist for stuff that might only be on there for a little while -- and then have "_General" be a smart playlist that combines the two.

Anyway, once you have the playlists set up, you go into the iPod settings and tell it to only update using your fancy new playlists (including "_General").

So, yeah, if you're looking for a better way to organize your music, you might try this method.

--- [Totally off topic, but if you have a blog, I highly recommend checking out Performancing for Firefox... This post was my test run, and it's the bomb. Although, it does make for some hairy markup, now that I look at it...]