Wednesday, September 09, 2009

ultimate ipod shuffle

A while back, I was getting frustrated with how the shuffle was working or not working on my Ipod. It would favor songs and it would often play stuff that I don't really want to listen to all the time. I started searching for hacks and stuff like that and I found nothing. I did, however, find a site that got me going on this "Ultimate Shuffle" playlist.

Before digging into this, you need to remember 2 things:

  • You need to rate your tracks! This is essential to how this works. You don't always have to rate them as they play, but definitely rate them when you plug it in to your computer to sync.
  • Tracks need to be played in full! In order for a "play" to count, the track needs to be played in full from beginning to end. I sometimes will fast forward tracks so they count.

So here we go!


Create the following smart playlists and call them "5 Star Radio", "4 Star Radio", "3 Star Radio", "2 Star Radio", "Unstar Radio". I have some criteria for all of my playlists. There are certain tracks I do not want to hear. I have a lot of jazz, although I love jazz, I don't always want to hear it when working out or driving to or from work. I also have a lot of intense or instrumental music like Mercury Program or Isis or Red Sparowes. I'll also include pictures of my smart playlists.

This is going to vary from user to user, but here are my criteria for the 5 star playlist:

  • Match ALL of the following rules
  • Rating is (5 stars)
  • Last Played is not in the last 30 days
  • Genre does not contain Jazz
  • Genre does not contain Instrumental Rock
  • Genre does not contain Intense Rock
  • Skip Count is less than 2

This is going to vary from user to user, but here are my criteria for the 4 star playlist:

  • Match ALL of the following rules
  • Rating is (4 stars)
  • Last Played is not in the last 8 weeks
  • Genre does not contain Jazz
  • Genre does not contain Instrumental Rock
  • Genre does not contain Intense Rock
  • Skip Count is less than 2
  • Limit to 60 items selected by random

This is going to vary from user to user, but here are my criteria for the 3 star playlist:

  • Match ALL of the following rules
  • Rating is (3 stars)
  • Last Played is not in the last 14 weeks
  • Genre does not contain Jazz
  • Genre does not contain Instrumental Rock
  • Time is greater than 1:00
  • Genre does not contain Intense Rock
  • Skip Count is less than 2
  • Limit to 85 items selected by random

This is going to vary from user to user, but here are my criteria for the 2 star playlist:

  • Match ALL of the following rules
  • Rating is (2 stars)
  • Last Played is not in the last 20 weeks
  • Genre does not Jazz
  • Time is greater than 2:00
  • Genre is not Intense Rock
  • Skip Count is less than 2
  • Genre does not contain Instrumental Rock
  • Limit to 10 items selected by random

The reason I have the "Unstar Radio" is that you need to play some stuff that does not yet have a rating or a play count. You can change the amount of tracks on this list, but here is what I have for criteria:

  • Match ALL of the following rules
  • Rating is (no stars)
  • Play Count is 0
  • Skip Count is less than 2
  • Genre does not contain Jazz
  • Playlist is not 3 Star Radio
  • Playlist is not 4 Star Radio
  • Playlist is not 5 Star Radio
  • Time is greater than 1:00
  • Genre does not contain Intense Rock
  • Limit to 75 items selected by random

By doing the above list I will make sure that its a track that isn't on any of the other playlists and its something that I haven't skipped a ton of times. Remember that a skipped track does not count as a play.

Now, to make this all make sense, make one more playlist called "@ Radio". The reason I call this @ Radio is that it'll show up first on my playlist menu. This playlist is going to be the main control for all of this, and this will be your main playlist that you use. Here is the criteria for this list:

  • Playlist is 2 Star Radio
  • Playlist is 3 Star Radio
  • Playlist is 4 Star Radio
  • Playlist is 5 Star Radio
  • Playlist is Unstar Radio

That's really it. You can tweak all the settings for the number of days in the Last Played section. I did that to really get it to where I was keeping up with what it was adding and not getting songs to infrequently. I also made a couple of other smart playlists that I added to my master playlist. I like hearing the recently added playlist, but sometimes when you add a bunch of stuff to your ipod all at once, you don't want all of that to show up on your @ Radio, so I made the settings to only pick so many, maybe 20 or 30 tracks, and with a play count of 0. I also made another smart playlist for all of those intense rock tracks. But I made it so it contains at most 5 tracks, that way I can control the dosage of screaming and instrumental music that shows up on my playlist.

You really can do a lot of stuff with this. Have fun and go crazy! Please post your comments and tell me about how you make your smart playlists. And feel free to contact me with any questions by using the link at the top of the page.

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