Eliminate surprises and repeats from iTunes Genius Mix playlists

Apr 05, '11 07:30:00AM

Contributed by: Plan K

iTunes Genius Mixes are nice. They group common music together in a playlist and the songs usually work well together. But there are problems. There is no easy way to tell exactly what songs you may get stuck with on a playlist. Plus, the Genius Mix list will keep playing, even if it has exhausted all songs available to it.

This means that users, especially those with smaller libraries, may hear the same songs pop up repeatedly, especially if they listen to the same Genius Mix for a long period. This hint is designed to better tailor playlists from Genius Mixes and eliminate duplicates.

First, go to iTunes and create a New Playlist (Command+N). We'll call it 'Select Genius.'

Then, in the iTunes sidebar under Playlists, go to iTunes DJ. At the bottom of the page, for Source, choose the Genius Mix you'd like to hear. Click Settings and choose to show 100 upcoming songs. Go ahead and click the checkbox next to 'Play higher rated songs more often,' since this will give you songs you're more likely to like (as long as you have diligently rated your tracks).

What follows is a hint-within-the-hint: It will create a playlist of tracks with no duplicates:

Click and drag the single track at the top of the iTunes DJ playlist to your previously created blank playlist called 'Select Genius.'

Then, returning to the iTunes DJ playlist, select all 101 tracks (Command+A) and click and drag them into the 'Select Genius' playlist in the sidebar. At this point, you will get the dialog box, 'There are duplicates being added to the playlist. Would you like to add the duplicates or skip them?' Click 'Skip.'

Now return to your newly populated 'Select Genius' playlist. There should be no exact duplicate tracks in the list. And while the iTunes DJ playlist of the Genius Mix had 101 tracks, this playlist may have fewer. (For example, when I created an iTunes DJ playlist of my Folk-Pop Genius Mix, it contained 35 duplicates among the 101 tracks. This process reduced that to a 66-track playlist with no duplicates.)

At this point, you could simply play or shuffle your new 'Select Genius' playlist and you'll get the sound of your Genius Mix without the repeats. Or you could further refine it.

To improve the quality of the playlist, you could sort the tracks by ratings, select the lowest-rated tracks and delete them. Or you could sort by artists and eliminate artists you aren't fond of (or those that seemed misplaced in this playlist). Or you can customize the playlist any way you'd like to suit your wishes, deleting songs you don't want and even adding different tracks that you'd like to include.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described.]

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