When you have a large collection of music and video in iTunes, it can be hard to find the music you want to play at any given time. You can sort by several different methods, but sorting your entire collection isn’t always the best way to play back your music. A playlist allows you to create a set of songs in a group. You can create a party mix, for example, or a playlist with songs you like to hear while running or biking. But sorting through your entire collection to select music isn’t always easy.
A smart playlist is a playlist created based on a set of criteria. For instance, you could choose songs from several artists, genres and albums all mixed together. You can also choose songs you haven’t listened to in a while, or ones you have rated highly. Building a smart playlist takes a few steps. First, run iTunes. In this case we’ll be using iTunes 9. Choose File, New Smart Playlist. A dialog box will appear called Smart Playlist and a single rule will start you off: usually “Artist” “contains” and then a blank. If you filled in the name of a band in the blank, then you would get a smart playlist with all of the songs from that band. But you can also change the first two fields. For instance, instead of “Artist” you can choose “Genre.”
Instead of “contains” you could select “is” or “is not.” If you choose “Genre” and “is” you can fill in the blank with something like “Rock” or “Jazz.” Once you have set that first rule, you can add others by clicking on the + symbol to the right of the rule. A line for a second rule will appear. In addition, a new option will appear at the top of the dialog box where you can choose to match “all” or “any” of the rules. So, for instance, you can set the first rule to be “Genre” “is” “Jazz” and the second to be “Genre” “is” “Blues” to get a playlist of all jazz and blues in your collection. In addition, you can click on the… button next to the + button to create a more complex set of rules that are dependent on the previous rule. Using this, you could specify that you only want Jazz music where “last played” “is not in the last” 7 days.
And then add blues music where “last played” “is not in the last” 14 days. At the bottom of the dialog is an option that lets you determine the number of songs in the playlist. To get all the songs that meet your criteria, leave this “Limit to” option unchecked. But you can also check it and limit it to a number of songs or a total playlist length of time. You can choose criteria for this limiting, such as rating, or recently played, or just have it select random songs.
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