As described at the end of my guide to online music, here’s are some playlists that will give you the power tools to organize your music better like a power user.
Top 100 Played
Limit to 100 items selected by most often played
I listen to post rock and instrumental stuff while sleeping sometimes, so I exclude those playlists, streams, and spoken word. Sometimes podcasts and other unwanted things crawl into the list if they have a high play count, so setting a time range (1:05 to 20:00) ensures short intros and lengthy podcasts/concerts/interviews are not used.
Year is in the range 1960-1970 (any years)
If I’m not mistaken, iTunes sets up a playlists of 90s music. You can do the same thing for any dates.
Rating is 0 stars
Get to work on rating your songs. You could use something like 1=delete/terrible, 2=repair/poor, 3=acceptable, 4=good, 5=amazing. Then you can make more personal playlists of higher rated songs.
Genre is [blank]
If you care to organize by genre or just want things complete then fill these in with your desired genre. Some people like to have specific genres (blues-rock, indie, jangle pop) and other stick to broader topics. Right now, I’m most likely sticking to something close to categories you’ll see in stores (rock, jazz, blues, folk, classical, country, etc). Although I wouldn’t put the Altar Boys in the Religious section instead of Rock.
Date Modified is in the last 1 day
This playlist tells you if you edited the tags recently or changed its settings (so you can fix it again or some other reason). iTunes comes stocked with a few related smart playlists which I browse often to work with other playlists (Recently Added and Recently Played). To save on horizontal space and to group these together I renamed them to Just Added and Played.
Kind contains video or kind contains movie (match any rule)
This should grab all types of video files and formats. From what I know it collects mov, mp4, and videos supported by iTunes.
Fixed Playlists (they’re not stupid though)
Static playlists serve just as important a role as smart-lists. Sometimes it takes a human generated list that is not dynamic and wont change unless you delete a file.
Recently I’ve been trying to order tracks in albums from best to worst and put them in order (so album is still intact, but tracks are sorted). Think of it as a smarter rating system. Sometimes it’s virtually impossible to order perfectly, but usually there are standout songs I’ll put on the top. I named it with cache because it stays ordered if you select an artist using the browser (CTRL+B).
I always like to create a list of stuff I want to hear then delete tracks after I’ve listened to them. I usually like to listen to entire albums and I usually don’t have the time or memory to remember all the stuff I want to listen to. By adding artists and albums and songs I want to hear on-the-spot, I don’t have to mess around on my iPod, like while driving.
Best Songs Ever
personal list of super favorites (the best of the best). I oopsed when originally rating and now most of my library is 4 and 5 stars. By creating a “Better than 5” playlist I can tame things and possibly readjust things later on.
Moods offer countless play lists for happy, sad, relaxing, romantic, nostalgic, and any other feeling you could imagine. If you followed my tagging scheme using the AMG script for mp3tag, you’ll have a ton of moods to choose from to make a smart playlist.
An easy way to make a mostly related topic list is to search the titles of songs for whatever. Plenty of options here: songs about time, trains, your hometown/state, your name, humorous topics, political, religious, anything you’re interested in or notice in a group of songs.
Playlists of where you got the file if not directly from your CD collection (eMusic, vinylRip, freeDL)
Upbeat fast-paced stuff that gives you a feeling of strength- think of the Rocky theme.
Stuff you could move around to.
Things that’ll slow you down. Calm and rest inducing.
You gotta have some singers who are women. If not, you could include bands that feature ladies on other instruments.
Personal events and mental connections (high school, sung by mom, long-time favorites)
Songs you want to learn (on an instrument, or just know the lyrics to)
More Playlists and Tips
The Filter (freeware) is a no-nonsense way of creating playlists of similar material. Tell it what song you want the list to be based from and it will intelligently shuffle songs into the playlist. If you chose a Bob Dylan song, expect stuff from the Band, Van Morrison, the Beatles, the Byrds, Woodie Guthrie, or whoever is actually in your library.
And a final general use tip: Before deleting a file, check to see if it’s in a regular playlist. Sometimes I have duplicates that get erased from playlists if I don’t check first (select track/right click/show in playlist/list of playlists including the track)