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"Music Only" for your iTunes playlists

New for Friday 11/10:
Revenge of the Smart Playlist: 5 tricks for packrats & power users »

In my MacBreak Weekly capacity as Vice-President in Charge of Digging Pointless Ratholes™, I recently mentioned some tricks that I use to create better playlists in iTunes. One of these tricks -- which is an oldie, and which I'm certain I yoinked from some uncredited smarter person out in the blogtropolis -- is to create a "Music Only" list.

So you know how you have increasing buttloads of non-music (podcasts, audio books, etc.) in your iTunes library? It's really annoying to throw on one of your sexy Smart Playlists or the Party Shuffle, only to have a 20 minute nap or a Noam Chomsky lecture kick in.

I get around this by basing almost all my Smart Playlists on my one canonical "Music Only" list, which currently looks like this:

Music Only

Yes, it's very hacky, and yes there's probably a more elegant way to accomplish this effect, but so far it's been a handy jumping off point for my favorite Smart Playlists. This helps me build stuff like...

New and unlistened-to


My neglected lovers


If you're even a casual iTunes user, it pays to spend some time rating your songs (no they can't all be "5 stars"), adding rich metadata, and building Smart Playlists. So powerful. And it you're using a (GUI-free) iPod Shuffle but not Smart Playlists? Man, that's just nuts.

New for Friday 11/10:
Revenge of the Smart Playlist: 5 tricks for packrats & power users

By popular demand, here are five more Smart Playlists, designed to help you manage very large libraries and bubble up interesting tracks (that you may not realize you like). (more »)

Marc's picture

No Stephen, I use the...

No Stephen, I use the Selection checkboxes too. What would make them easier to use, though, would be a per-podcast setting that auto-flagged the downloads as either checked or not-checked (in my particular case, most of my spoken-word stuff happens to come via podcasts).

As for rating my music, I use a variation of a rating system that I learned about a few years ago. Our company was going through a period of rethinking what the hell we were doing, and a consultant was called in to help us focus on our core processes. We had to make a list of all the things that we were currently occupied with, and then rate their importance on a scale of 1 to 10. The interesting part was that we were only allowed to give each item a rating of 1, 3 or 9. This was a great way to cut through the crap of "is this just as important as that, or slightly more important, or slightly less important?" Things are either not important at all, slightly important or logarithmically more important.

Thus, I rate my songs simply as 5 star (really good), no stars (worth keeping) and deleted (why waste disk space?).




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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