Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Organically Evolving Playlists

Sometimes my own stupidity amazes me. Like many people who use iTunes or equivalents I have a chunk of playlists that have a few hours of music of a certain type, for example my "Summertime Rolls" or "Irresponsible Guitar" lists. Now these kind of playlists aren't a totally random assortment, and some tracks definitely work together better than others, but to be honest I don't want to spend my time sorting them by hand because it's a bit difficult to do this without listening to a whole song and then thinking "ooh, that would work next".

But I finally figured out that if I just set my playlist to be ordered by the last time the track was played I can listen to a track and then when it hits the next one if it doesn't work I can keep skipping forward till I hit something that does and of course once this new track has played it will automatically now follow the previous one in the list henceforth. So your playlists can evolve until they hit a point where you can just play them and each track works perfectly with the next. Looking at my "Irresponsible Guitar" playlist it has, over the last month or two, reordered itself so that most of the sixties stuff, Zeppelin, Free etc are together and then 80s hair bands, Van Halen, Poison have also grouped themselves into a pleasing sequence with chunks of AC/DC and Jane's Addiction forming the link. But you still find that single AC/DC track in the midst of the sixties tunes because it just works there.

I like these organically shifting playlists and I can't believe I've been such a numbskull not to figure it out before.


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