iTunes 8 features a new playlist creation tool called Genius. To create a playlist with it, you find a song you like and select it in your iTunes library, then you click on the ‘Genius’ button at the bottom right of your iTunes window. iTunes then gives you a few, albeit overly simplified, options. One, select how many songs you want in the playlist. Two, ‘Refresh’ the playlist with different songs. Three, “Save Playlist”. In theory I like the idea but in practice, it’s half useless.
What if I don’t want songs rated 1 or 2 stars in this playlist? What if I only want unrated songs in this playlist? You may be thinking, “who rates songs? what’s the point?”. The answer to that is rather long and I will go into that in a later post when I explain how to create customized and dynamic playlist to vastly improve the “shuffle” ability of iTunes and your iPod.
To achieve a Genius based playlist that consist of only unrated songs, this is what I did.
1. Create a Genius playlist for a song. Select a song you like, click on the ‘atom’ looking icon at the lower right of your iTunes window. Select “Limit to 50 songs”. and click on “Save Playlist”. You may repeat this step and create an unlimited number of Genius playlist. I call each playlist “g: song title”.
I try to rate all of my music, so when iTunes creates a Genius playlist, probably about 50% are rated. This only gives me about 25 songs per playlist that aren’t rated. Depending on how many songs you have rated, and how many unrated songs you want to achieve for the final playlist, you can adjust the parameters to match your needs.
2. Create a Smart Playlist that contains “any” and for the options, select “Playlist” > “is” > (the genius playlist you created in step 2). You may continue adding any and all Genius playlist you’ve created in step 1. I called this playlist “g: all”.
3. Create another Smart Playlist that contains “all” and for the first option select “playlist” > “is” > (select the playlist you’ve created in step 2). For the second option in this playlist, select “rating” > “is” > “0 stars”. I called this playlist “g: unrated”.
Here is a screenshot of the playlists I’ve created. I named them all with “g: ” to make it easier to find them and to know what they are for just by the playlist name.
So now if you want to play unrated songs based on the iTunes Genius feature, just select the final playlist you’ve created in step 3. Which for me is “g: unrated” in the screenshot above.
This is also a good way to find songs that you knew you liked but for whatever reason haven’t gotten around to rating yet. As each song plays, you can easily and quickly rate it. Or you can eyeball the list and batch rate songs with a few mouse clicks.
This is how I currently rate my music:
5 stars: My absolute favorite songs that I very rarely skip
4 stars: Songs I like
3 stars: Song I’m indifferent to. They may grow on me.
2 stars: Songs I don’t like
1 star: Special case songs, “live music”, “spoken word”, self-help tracks (instructional, tutorial, etc)