♫ Episode #42 – Song Are Atoms, and Playlists Are Molecules

By Kirk on March 3, 2017

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  • Really enjoyed this episode – learned a lot. I’m one of those guys who has thousands of playlists. Most of mine are by dates – like Top 100 songs of 1977 – based on Billboard or others. I have also started building playlists like Top 10 Doobie Bros. Songs. this is because I have sooo much music – I just want the top 10 of artists that have so many songs. I also have Playlist Folders and got Doug’s Apple Script to move playlists into Playlist folders. That brings up my question – can I shuffle all songs in a playlist folder?

  • Thanks for this episode. I want to add an issue that I was never able to tackle completely. For years I rated my songs individually with 1 to 5 stars, and generate (smart) playlists from these. For example: my Fav 80s smart playlist contained all individual songs with 4 or 5 stars in the period 1980 to 1989. However, I was not fully satisfied due to the fact that album tracks and “single” tracks (for lack of a better word, typical individual songs that were being played on the radio, MTV, charts etc.) showed up in the same list – these songs have a different feel to them. Also, what do you do with favorite album? An album is more (at least used to be) than the sum of tracks. I felt that I was sometimes in the mood to browse through “singles” and sometimes browse through the full albums. In the end I started to work with two seperate iTunes libraries, both with their own set of (smart) playlists. It served me well until iCloud in the cloud and the rating system (from stars to favorites) messed things up completely. Nowadays I build manual playlists in Tidal (“singles”) and Roon (full albums), I stopped using iTunes completely.

  • I use a very complex Smart Playlist system that essentially turns my iTunes library into my own personal Pandora station. I’m using Spotify more and more lately, but this system works very well for the music I’ve purchased over the years.

    This system is probably a bit too complex for most people, but once you get it set up, it really showcases the power of iTunes, allowing you to rediscover your own music library.

  • I used to have one single smart playlist of 800 songs for jogging, created based on “least recently played”. It took about 1 year to cycle through the whole library of around 4000 songs, which were selectively hand-picked and ripped into iTunes.

    I disabled live updating so that the 800 songs in the list were not affected when new songs were added to the library. When I finished listening to the then current list, I sync’d with iPod and updated the list, and sync’d a new batch of 800, and then disabled the live update again.

    Now I listen only to podcasts with one playlist for jogging. Live update, play count 0. (Thank you, Kirk, for recommending the BBC Radio 3 podcast, Essay).

    My music listening is still spinning physical CDs on 5-CD changers.

  • I really enjoyed this episode too. I have a lot of smart and static playlists. My favourite play lists are the static ones where I have added music that remind me good and bad times in my life. Listening to that song should remind me of something and stir an emotion, good or bad.

    Funnily enough this music seems to have stopped in my early 20s. I am now 47. I just don’t listen to new music. So driving somewhere, going on holiday is no longer linked to a song. I listen to podcasts all the time. When I train at the gym or commute, it is podcasts.

    On another note, I’m interested that Kirk bought a Toyota as it doesn’t have Car Play. I used to drive Toyota’s and would have got another one, but not having Car Play was a big deal for me. I do a lot of driving for work. It is a fantastic product in the car.

    • I don’t drive much, and it’s not the software that would dictate what car I would buy. I mainly bought it because it’s a hybrid, an affordable one, in the size of car that I need.

  • I’m a bit late to the show, here. I’m catching up on podcasts right now.

    I have a huge amount of Smart Playlists. I use an app called Mixed In Key, which tags my music files with the tempo, ‘energy’ and key of each track.
    Then, I create Smart Playlists for tempo ranges, and energy ranges.

    It gets really interesting when I start making Smart Playlists for Key and ‘Harmonic Key’. If you haven’t made playlists based on Key and Harmonic Key, you’re seriously missing out.

    As a DJ, I think Key is more important than tempo matching. Give a listen to my most recent playlists: https://soundcloud.com/skymakai/sets/muse-dance

  • Picking up on the car entertainment system topic… I’ve found these are a bit better these days and provide much better support for different file formats and tagging schemas. I guess this is partly because they boast large displays, so they want to show off album art etc (which is a whole other topic).