Monday, October 02, 2006

iTunes smart playlists not so smart

Even though iTunes is my favorite player, I really bemoan their implementation of smart playlists. Don't get me wrong, I love smart playlists and have used them in creative ways.

For example, I use PodNova to subscribe to podcasts because it lets me update my subscriptions using a web interface. It creates a regular playlist for each podcast that you subscribe to in iTunes and labels each downloaded podcast by setting the Genre to Podcast. All this is well and great, but if I wanted to listen to all my new podcasts, then I had to move from playlist to playlist which was starting to become a pain. So, I created a smart playlist by matching Genre to Podcast and Play Count to less than 1. To AND conditions in a smart playlist, you simply set the playlist to match 'all' the rules.

Now, I also have news related podcasts from Wall Street Journal, Business Week, etc. that I would like to separate from my other podcasts. I want create a single smart playlist for my news podcasts by matching 'any' album that belongs to a news podcast (Wall Street Journal OR Business Week). I also want to specify that Play Count for all these albums must be less than 1. And herein lies the limitation of iTunes' smart playlists. iTunes will either let me AND all my conditions by matching 'all' rules or let me OR them by matching 'any' rule. It will not let me create a smart playlist by using a combination of AND and OR cases. When Apple lets me create complex playlists such as these I will have no problem in calling it a Genius Playlist.


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