My iTunes Smart Playlists

I’m going to take a brief respite from rattling off my 2006 New Year’s Resolutions to kick off my Best Practices category with an entry about the iTunes Smart Playlists I use while seeding Last.FM with data. This is based largely on the playlists that Dougal Campbell shared long ago when I discussed iTunes re-rating on my Weblog.

Radio Airtime Smart Playlist

Match any of the following rules:

Limit to: 3584 MB selected by random.
Match only checked songs.
Live updating.

I limit Radio Airtime to 3.5GB so I can use it as a source for syncing to my iPod nano. You may choose to leave this size restriction off of your Radio Airtime, as well as the limitations you’ll see below. If you don’t use size as a limit, I suggest using song count limits—anywhere from 50-100 should work for you.

You’ll also see below that I use Genre is not Podcast in all these playlists; I don’t want Podcast material to show up here, even though I listen to them from time to time. I just don’t want those to show up in the midst of a music set—hence the limitation. Your mileage may vary.

Great But Forgotten Smart Playlist

Match all the following rules:

  • My Rating is greater than three stars.
  • Last Played is not in the last 5 days.
  • Genre is not Podcast.

Limit to 512 MB selected by random.
Live updating.

This provides me with a list of good songs I might not have heard in a while. Sometimes, I twiddle with the amount of time since I heard it, but given that this is a pretty large list, it doesn’t get exhausted quickly … in fact, there’s stuff on there that hasn’t been played in two months. Remember, as this is updated live, songs get pulled off of it, and the list randomized every time.

Heavy Rotation Smart Playlist

Match all of the following:

  • Last Played is in the last 7 days.
  • Genre is not Podcast.

Limit to 512 MB selected by most often played.
Live updating.

This throws back at me the stuff I’ve listened to a lot in the life of my iTunes library that I’ve listened to in the last week. Unfortunately, I’ve never found a way for the selected by clause to be “most times played in the last week”, because that would provide me a true heavy rotation. Oh well—this keeps the really great songs coming up all the time. [There’s a reason that I call this Radio Airtime. ;)]

Least Often Played Smart Playlist

Match all of the following:

  • My Rating is greater than two stars.
  • Last Played is not in the last 14 days.
  • Genre is not Podcast.

Limit to 512 MB selected by least often played.
Live updating.

This provides me with stuff rated at least three stars [my “listenable” threshhold] that I’ve just not played very often. Sometimes, this sparks a desire to break out an album I haven’t listened to for a while.

Least Recently Played Smart Playlist

Match all of the following:

  • My Rating is greater than two stars.
  • Genre is not Podcast.

Limit to 512 MB selected by least recently played.
Live updating.

Like the Least Often Played, this serves to drag up old stuff. The combination of the two is what makes Radio Airtime work in bringing up stuff I’ve not listened to in a while that I don’t just love.

Randomizer Smart Playlist

Match all of the following:

  • My Rating is greater than one star.
  • Last Played is not in the last 10 days.
  • Genre is not Podcast.

Limit to 768 MB selected by random.
Live updating.

This provides a random element to the playlist; this is how my crappy-rated songs ever see the light of day.

Recently Added Smart Playlist

Match all of the following rules:

  • Date Added is in the last 5 days.
  • Genre is not Podcast.

Live updating.

This keeps the new stuff I add in the mix. I often listen to this playlist by itself as well when getting to know the new music I add. [If you want to see what my new music is, check out my Musiclogging entries on my Weblog.]

Top Songs of the Last Month Smart Playlist

Match all of the following rules:

  • Date Added is in the last 30 days.
  • My Rating is greater than three stars.
  • Genre is not Podcast.

Limit to 512 MB selected by random.
Live updating.

This is another way that I keep the good, fresh stuff in my ears. As I’m constantly adding new music, this gives me a month to let it steep. This is another playlist that I sometimes listen to on its own.

Unrated Songs Smart Playlist

Match all of the following rules:

  • My Rating is less than one star.
  • Genre is not Podcast.

Live updating.

When I add new music, I use this playlist until it’s over; I have it in Radio Airtime only because I might screw up sometime.


Do you use similar Smart Playlists to provide yourself with good mixes? If so, I want to hear about it! Also, please feel free to cuss and discuss my ideas below. Again, I want to thank Dougal for his suggestions—they’ve been really helpful.