Originally posted at PostBourgie on September 12, 2008.
I used to love making playlists in iTunes. Occasionally, when the mood strikes, I still do. A good playlist is like a good mixtape. A lot of care goes into making sure the mood is maintained, the transitions are smooth, and the thematic integrity remains intact.
But these days, I’m lazy. I have about 7000 tracks at my disposal. The only playlist I keep up is what I call ‘KSOH,’ which is my version of KCRW, my favorite radio station. KSOH is what I’d play if I had a radio station: it has all of my favorite songs from many genres, the only rule being, one song per artist. I swap in new stuff when I’m tired of a song, or I bring in a throwback. I probably change out about 20 percent of the ~150 songs on KSOH every couple of weeks. And that’s an agonizing process.
So now Apple has done what I’ve been to lazy to do. iTunes 8 has a feature called ‘Genius’ which creates playlists based on a single song. It’s similar to browser-based Pandora, which analyzes the attributes of a song or artist and finds similar songs for you. There is a creepy factor — iTunes has to send info about your music library to Apple’s vast databases — but it’s aptly named.
To test it out, I picked a song at random, and hit the atomic ‘Genius’ button. In this case, the song I picked was the French Kicks’ ‘Call Our Hands.’
Behold, a screenshot of my actual iTunes window (click for a larger view):
The default setting is 25 songs, and the playlist Genius came up with was excellent. Nothing jarring, some songs that were slower than the one I picked, some were faster, but they all work well together. It even picked up some songs that I haven’t listened to much.
I haven’t tested it out with hip-hop or old school jams yet, but I’m guessing it’ll do a pretty good job. If you have a lot of music that you don’t listen to much, this might be a great way to rediscover your library.
[Download iTunes 8.]