So you’ve rated and categorized a good number of songs in your library, sifting the great from the good from the mediocre and drawing fuzzy little circles around similar strands of music. Your iTunes library is beginning to look less like a massive mound of music and more like a few dozen smaller piles of semi-organized songs.
It’s taken you some time, and you’re probably beginning to wonder why on earth you started this endeavor in the first place. The answer is simple: now it will be easier to create Smart Playlists that will help you get the full value and enjoyment out of your Music Library.
Smart Playlists Creation Strategies
The following Smart Playlists have helped me enjoy my Music Library:
*Best Artist* Smart Playlists can be created by specifying the artist name (be sure to use “contains” and not “is” to match those songs featuring artist collaborations as well) and the “My Rating” + “is greater than” + “three stars” criteria
*Best Genre* Smart Playlists can be created by specifying the Genre (or subgenre) (be sure to use “contains” and not “is” to match those songs in both an overall genre and a subgenre) and the “My Rating” + “is greater than” + “three stars” criteria.
*Best Year* Smart Playlists can be created by specifying the Year and the “My Rating” + “is greater than” + “three stars” criteria.
I’m often guilty of the strong desire to listen to my newly discovered music more often than my old favorites. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to create a series of Smart Playlists that do just that: group my new favorites into easy-to-find playlists organized by “Date Added” and “My Rating.” I’ve got several of this type, starting at 2 weeks old, then 4 weeks, then 8, then 24, then 52.
Often the best way to tell what music you like is by how often you listen to it. To get a handle on how often you listen to your music, create a series of Smart Playlists that filter your music library based on play count.
You can extend this further by filtering on Genre.
The danger of having a huge music library lies in losing track of those songs you forgot you loved; shuffle only works so well when you’re shuffling 15,000 songs. To combat this, create yourself a “Long Lost” Smart Playlist that does the dirty work of dredging the bottom of your library for the songs you had forgotten about by having it filter based on “Last Played” date and “My Rating”.
You can extend this type of Smart Playlist by filtering it further into specific genres.
Similar to long lost music, underappreciated songs are those that you rated highly, but listened to just a handful of times. You can create a Smart Playlist that filters your music library to just those songs using “Play count” and “My Rating.”
As you buy new music and import music from CDs you’ll want to make sure you rate it appropriately. To help you do this, create a series of Smart Playlists that filters your music library to unrated songs based on date imported.
Filter your unrated music further by genre with a Smart Playlist with an additional rule.
Adopt & Extend
These are all basic suggestions that I encourage you to use, extend and tweak to your heart’s content. If you find them useful, or have additional tips that work well for you, please send me a note. There are several variations on all of the above strategies; be creative and look for additional connections in your music library where you didn’t think they existed before.