Towards the perfect playlist

For a few years now since I first purchased my original iPod and iMac, I’ve been trying to create the ideal smart playlist. Well, the ideal for me at any rate. The key was to make sure it contains music I like that I haven’t listened to recently. So, I created a smart playlist that picks 80 minutes worth of my most frequently played songs with a rating higher than 3 (my favourites always have a 4 or 5 star rating) and that hasn’t been played in the the last 9 weeks.

That was sort of OK, but it just wasn’t doing it for me. Sometimes a track would come up that I’ve heard too often; other times it would be tracks that I kind of lost interest in, even though they’re highly rated. Then, a few days ago, after reading a great post at 43 Folders, I had a breakthrough.

Up until now, I was totally ignorant of the fact that you could use other playlists as criteria in your rules and that there was a “skip count” rule as well. Thanks to Merlin, that is no longer the case.

So, armed with this new found knowledge, I created a playlist with the following rules:

  • Last Played is not in the last 9 weeks
  • My Rating is greater than *** (3)
  • Playlist is Just Music
  • Playlist is not All Time Top 50
  • Skip Count is less than 2
  • Limit to 80 minutes selected by most often played
  • Match only checked items
  • Live updating

It’s only seen a few days of action, but so far it’s pretty good. The best part is that it avoids songs I’ve played a lot (which are typically in the top 50) and culls the ones that I’ve lost interest in (2 skips and it’s out). And now I’ll probably use skip count criteria to craft another playlist for re-evaluating songs that I frequently skip but have a high rating.

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