iTune Smart Playlists
I know what you're thinking: This computer can't be all that smart... it just does what I tell it to. Even my wife doesn't do that, and she's smarter than I am. But lo! There on the horizon! A whiiiiiiiite whaaaaaale!!! No, sorry. Wrong article.
Wouldn't it be nice if every time you imported a sad song, it went into a playlist with all the other sad songs, or when preparing to burn an Audio CD, the playlist would limit itself to just what will fit on 1 CD (or 2 or whatever)? That would be smart, and that's where the Smart Playlist comes in. Similar to the category headings in iTunes (Artist, Song, Genre, etc.), Smart playlists allow you to define and refine those headings with a surprisingly powerful, yet easy-to-use list of criteria.
To open a new Smart Playlist, open iTunes and pull down the "File" menu from the top Apple Menu. Select "New Smart Playlist" which will open a small window with text fields. There are "+" and "-" buttons next to the first field. This is where you can get specific. Each one of those buttons opens another field for further refinement of your library. Go ahead and start a new Smart Playlist--now select a criteria from the first pull-down menu (it'll say "Artist"). Let's make it "Date Added" and use the second pull-down menu to make it "is in the last" 1 week. Now hit the "+" to open up another field and let's make this one "Genre," telling it that we want it to only contain "Rock." Live Updating is checked by default, so we hit "OK" and our playlist is created. The default name will be "Rock," but by clicking on it, you can rename it whatever you'd like. Now, any time you add a song to your iTunes Music Library with the info fields filled out (done by default from iTunes Music Store), it will find all the music added in the last week that is listed as "Rock" and add it to that playlist. This can be a great tool for importing from CD's as well, as iTunes will automatically connect to the CDDB database and find the info for the CD for you, ready to import with all the pertinent info filled in already.
With a few of these Smart Playlists created, this can take much of the organizational burden off you, as every time you add a track, it can automatically go where it is supposed to. Unless you like running your fingers through your playlists and savoring the feel of days' worth of musical bliss, but I could be the only one who does that...? What can I say--I'm a musical micromanager, and these Smart Playlists let me do it because I want to and no longer because I have to. Now that's working smarter instead of harder. [Britt Godwin]