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Create a 'most ignored' smart playlist in iTunes Apps
After reading Jaharmi's Smart Playlist tip for creating a "history list", I thought I'd share the one I use that might be called an "ancient history list". When I first saw Apple's Top 25 Most Played list I wondered why not the least played? Since Apple didn't provide one, I created my Most Ignored smart playlist.

I set up my Most Ignored smart playlist set up as follows:

  1. Create a new Smart Playlist
  2. Click on the Advanced tab
  3. Check "Match all of the following conditions:"
  4. Set the first condition as: [Last Played] [is not in the last] X [days], where X is the number of days you want to go back into the past. 120, for example, would mean it would pick songs you have not listened to for at least four months.
  5. Check "Live updating"

That should work well for starters. If you're really insane, you can embark on the same journey I am currently on -- I am trying to listen to every piece of music I own. Below is what I have done to embellish the playlist above and what I do to help me manage this project with my iPod, which is what I use to listen to music most of the time.

One caveat: I use two other pieces of information that iTunes tracks to manage this project. Since I started this right when Smart Playlists wre introduced, all of this information was non-existent for the songs in my library -- so, it may mean that you will have to reset this data and/or modify the conditions in the Most Ignored playlist. In particular, I'm talking about the (1) Play Count and the (2) My Rating data for your songs.

My actual configuration for my Most Ignored playlist is below ... some of the choices may seem a bit odd, but I'll explain them after the list:

  • Match all of the following conditions:
  • Last Played is not in the last 0 days
  • Play Count is less than 1
  • Genre is not [genres I don't want on my iPod ... this is purely optional]
  • Limit to 350 songs selected by random
  • Live updating

How does this playlist work for me? How do I use it?

Last Played is set to 0 days because I still haven't listened to all of the music I've loaded onto my computer! Once I have listened to every song at least once, I will boost this back up to something more reasonable, like the 120 days I suggested above. For now, I need it to look for everything.

Setting Play Count to less than 1 makes sure that only songs I have not played from start to finish get pulled onto this playlist. Again, once I have listened to all of my music, I can start revising this upward. For instance, I might want to limit it to songs played less than 3 times to keep out songs I might have played heavily a few months back.

"Limiting" the list to 350 songs lets me keep a large randomly-selected pool of music I haven't listened to yet on my iPod while leaving space for things I want on there all of the time, or for other Smart Playlists (with a 5GB iPod, I do have to be a little choosy!).

That's the main part of my "Listen to Everything I Own" project. Eventually, the number of songs with a Play Count less than 1 will drop to zero, and I'll have met my goal. (Only a 1002 left, but I have another 80 or so CDs to import to iTunes yet, and new ones always come along....)

There is one other Smart Playlist I use to help me manage this project and, more generally, the songs that make it onto my iPod. I call it my Really Recent iPodables list, but it also pulls in any songs I play with iTunes. Here is how it is set up:

  • Match all of the following conditions:
  • Last Played is in the last 3 days
  • Play Count is greater than 0
  • Live updating

This list simiply grabs any song that has been played all the way through in the last 3 days. Whenever I sync up my iPod, or whenever I play my Most Ignored list with iTunes, I go to this list and rate each song. I use the My Rating feature as a means for keeping music off my iPod. As I have been listening to music, I have been giving each song a rating. A one-star rating in my system means "Keep it off the iPod" -- I don't necessarily use it for music I hate (those songs I trash from my hard drive ... why keep them?). For instance, a lot of the Classical music I have just doesn't cut it for a ride on a NYC subway, so I don't listen to most of my Classical music on my iPod.

I could limit what appears on my iPod by indicating Genres [like Karaoke!] to excluded, but using the star ratings is a bit more flexible when I want a few of a particular Genre (instead creating a sub-genre). I have my iPod sync to a fixed set of playlists since my library is too big to hold it all. For each of the Smart Playlists (which I'm finding I use almost exclusively for my iPod), I can add the My Rating condition and make sure the 1-star songs stay off. For me, 2-stars and up reflect how much I like the songs, so I can also use this to limit lists to 3-stars or better or, for instance, have a playlist that randomly grabs 100 5-star songs.

If you follow this path, again, you may need to reset your Play Count and, if you want to manage what goes onto your iPod as I do, your My Ratings values. If you do head down this road, be ready for a long, sometimes strange, sometimes surprising musical trip....

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Create a 'most ignored' smart playlist in iTunes | 5 comments | Create New Account
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Really great tip
Authored by: Twitch on Jan 27, '03 04:16:31PM

This was a great tip, I'm always interested in how others are setting up playlists and such. I've got a 20 gig, and I'm still trying to figure out different methods of making the Smart Lists.

Thanks Bruddah, this was awesome

[ Reply to This | # ]
Really great tip
Authored by: gxw on Jan 27, '03 08:48:04PM

Been doing this since November last year with a least played play list. I really love smart play lists! The Mac + iTunes + the built in speech makes an excellent alarm clock.
Just have a simple least played rule set:
> 2 stars and last played != 35 days & live update == on.
Also have a recently played list:
last played in in the last 2 days

Getting back to the alarm clock - using cron to start itunes playing the least played list @ 6:00 am. Then have two more cron entries that pause the music, announce the time with the built in voice, then resume the music. Sweet!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Really great tip
Authored by: Twitch on Jan 28, '03 01:11:34AM

Kick ass!

That's an awesome idea too. Wish there was a place where we could post all these ideas, not to take away from this site of course, only the Smart Playlist ideas...

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Classical on the Subway
Authored by: cpatch on Jan 29, '03 12:48:24PM

No classical on the subway?? Dude, the NYC subway is where you need classical the most!

[ Reply to This | # ]
You're right, but...
Authored by: finelinebob on Jan 30, '03 12:03:35AM

... on even the least noisy cars, anything less than mezzo forte at full blast on the volume gets lost in all the noise (& I don't have $300 to see how those "noise-cancelling" headphones work ;^).

[ Reply to This | # ]