iTunes smart playlists are integral to the way I listen to purchased music. I currently only use two smart playlists, but they help me track music coming into my library and make sure I’m listening to the newest stuff. I originally created the two lists – “1 Week” and “Last Month” – because the iTunes library can be a black hole for thousands and thousands of songs.
The 1 Week playlist shows only songs I’ve added to my library in the last 7 days and the Last Month playlist does the same, but for the last 30 days. These aren’t too different from the default “Recently added,” but I needed to split it up and tweak it. As you can see from the playlist configuration picture, I weed out podcasts, only keep checked items, and keep it live updating. This keeps the playlist just music and makes it a good travel, sync-able, option.
I also keep a smart playlist for each year. All the music released in 2013 has its own playlist, an easy way to remember what came out this year versus last and so forth. It’s handy just a few months into the year, but the reason I originally made it years back was to help with making my best-of-the-year lists in December.
Another smart playlist I don’t currently use, but have in the past is “Discovering old favorites.” Basically the idea that you have a lot of forgotten favorites lurking beneath the surface of your library. The smart playlist for this looks something like, “Find all the songs with over X amount of plays – maybe 30 – that haven’t been listened to in over a year.” This type of playlist could contain a lot of songs, which is why I stopped using it, but for some people it may be the type of discovery they’re looking for.
Now, if only Rdio and other streaming service would add a niche feature like smart, user configurable, playlists.
If you have a smart playlist you live by, let me know.