Instead of writing this post myself, I will copy & paste some concepts taken from the wornderful free e-book “Managing Your iPod With Smartlists” by Charles Hannum Jr, that you can download from here.
This e-book is really worth the read! If you are iTunes n00b or you don’t know anything about iTunes, you will read lot of useful tips about one of the best iTunes/iPod feature: the smart playlists; if you are an iTunes pro, you will read many tips you already know, but the book is a pleasure to read for you tho.
“There are two types of playlists, regular and smart. A regular playlist is just a list of songs that you manage directly by dragging or copying genres, artists, albums, or songs over to the playlist. […] A smart playlist (smartlist for short) is a rules-based list that is dynamically generated by iTunes based upon rules that you set when the list is created or later edited. “
“iTunes’ smartlist system is what truly separates the iPod from the rest of the market. […] think about taking greater control of what you listen to in a way that takes very little effort on your part. Once you understand how to link smartlists to create automatic music mixes, you can craft self-generating playlists that turn your iPod into a series of cyber DJs that play music tailored to you without very little to no further effort on your part.”
“In addition to the “cyber DJ” aspect of smartlists, they can also serve an important function for those who have more music than fits on their iPod. If this describes you, then you know you will need some sort of system to rotate music on and off your iPod. Sure, you could just manually manage everything, but wouldn’t it be nicer if some, most, or even all of this rotation was automated? “
“why not just use the “Shuffle Songs” feature of the iPod? The “Shuffle Songs” feature, though idiot proof, is relatively weak. When you shuffle songs, the iPod simply goes through all of the audio files eligible for shuffling in a more or less random manner.[…] it lacks a persistent memory state: it resets its shuffle state back to zero after every reset or sync. The result is that you hear some songs repeatedly while never hearing others. “
“For some reason, there are people out there paying good money so they can downgrade their iPod with software like Anapod. […] they’ve fallen for the scam of paying someone else to do something iTunes already does for free. […] There isn’t much efficient or desirable about drag and drop management, particularly if you have a large music collection and a smaller iPod. Show me someone who thinks it’s fun to manually select a different 3.5 GB of music every week for their mini or nano”
“Dragging and dropping is only desired because you’ve become accustomed to using DAPs with garbage software that forced you to adapt to the lowest level of management. In a similar vein, file-tree browsing is not a feature, it’s a kludge from designers too lazy to write good software.”
“The simplest explanation of what you are going to do is set your iPod to sync to a certain set of playlists, some smart, some regular, and then all you will have to do is plug the iPod in, update, and, voila, music will be moved on and off of your iPod according to the rules you use. “
“I have tried many music organising programs out there, and while they range from the awful to pretty good, not a one of them touches the functionality of the iTunes/iPod combo. […] for music and player organisation, it can’t be touched in my opinion.”
Thanks to Mr. Hannum Jr for the great work he did 🙂