Sunday, January 14, 2007

Smart Playlists

I currently have 4,340 songs in my iTunes. That means, I build a lot of playlists, primarily smart playlists.

The playlists range from the simple 4 star and 5 star lists to songs I have tagged in groupings (like live, cover, night, mellow, best of 2006, etc.) and in comments (from whom I received the music, like a cd from my dad or a colleague, a promo from a label or distributor, or from which blog I was introduced to the band or the song).

I sort things by genre a little more specifically than I should. I have 154 genres listed because I sort songs by genres and sub genres. For example, I have 10 different acoustic genres because I found that dumping everything into the same acoustic catergory meant that I missed hearing the song in the original category (like Acoustic/Britpop or Acoustic/Soul).

I learned a new technique from Merlin Mann, the hipster pda inventor and productivity guru (and old school chum). In his article on Music Only playlists, Merlin suggests building all of your smart playlists off of a defined Music only playlist. I also use this strategy but I expanded "Music Only" to remove music I do not want to hear randomly shuffled as I walk around the lake: if the genre contains "demo" or "client," it's kicked out. (All of my clients are also tagged in grouping as "client" so some make it into regular rotation.)

My most often played playlist is "Night." This is a list that we listen to nearly every night either through the stereo in the bedroom or through our own headphones. The list starts with "Ruler of My Heart" by Dirty Dozen Brass Band and then plays jazz and soul: D'Angelo, Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Angie Stone, etc. My top 12 most played songs all appear on this list.

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