When I got my iMac back in the day I decided to dive head first into dreaded iTunes waters. My experiences with iTunes on my Vista laptop were scarring and jarring so I was skeptical about using iTunes as my music library manager. Turns out that iTunes isn’t all that bad after all! Especially 9.0 with the sweet app organizer feature ^__^ (something I longed for previously).
In this post I am going to lay out which music related programs I use, how I set up my playlists, and any other handy things I’ve learned.
One of the first things I did when I started configuring my music setup was to download You Control Tunes so I could rate my music without having to switch to iTunes. I really love the ticker feature which You Control Tunes provides in the menu bar as well.
Another program I use and love is the Last.fm scrobbler. (there are also Winamp, Windows Media and other versions available!) I have just started using this one more frequently because I was looking for ways to share playlists, favorite songs and such with friends. I set up the scrobbler preferences so the dock icon is hidden so I can “love” songs through the menu bar icon. I also use Last.fm because it updates Facebook with what I am listening to or have “loved”. I also use the iPod scrobbler which runs invisibly while playing music on your iPod and sends the data to Last.fm when you sync. I think Last.fm has a lot more functionality that I just haven’t tapped into yet. You can view my Last.fm profile here to see my music library in the cloud. Last.fm is also pretty good at recommending new music.
After all that jazz comes the main event – iTunes! I’ve found that one of the most important things to do in iTunes is RATE your songs. I use:
5 stars for favorites
4 for really good songs
3 for average mediocre whatever sometimes songs
2 for not my usual taste but sometimes
1 for possibly delete or replace if it is low quality
Next is playlists. I have 8 main playlist folders.
*iPod – will go over in next paragraph
Already Burned – cds I have already burned (duh)
Decades – smart playlists that grab the date tag (2k music, 90s, 80s, 70s, etc.)
Moods – manual lists which depend on how a song makes me feel (Classics, Ethereal, Lovesongs, Quirky, Rockin, Sexy and a few more)
Music Made Me – some manual lists that I feel shaped me as a person and my musical tastes (Incubus, Jamiroquai, The Moody Blues, The New Radicals, Three Dog Night, White Town, The Doors, Erykah Badu, Foo Fighters, Semisonic, Blues Traveler)
MusicForYou – songs I think certain people I know would like – I have lists for my brother, sister, mom, etc.
Smarts – Mostly the default smartlists with a couple others added (unchecked, checked, top rated, haven’t played etc.)
ToBurn – Cds I want to burn
Whew….. Ok, so the important folder is *iPod! It contains 5 lists and I will just post images instead of trying to explain everything about these beasts. These lists basically fill my iPod in such a way that my absolute favorite songs are present, I get to hear new music from my library, I have work out music, and my iPod stays full of tunes. Why did I do this? Because I only have an 8giger and I wanted a less hands on approach to getting what I want on there. These lists actually work reaaaally well! You would have to adjust some values depending on what size of iPod you have and how many audiobooks and podcasts you want to include.
1st – iPod Must Havs. This is a manual list I’ve created that has my absolute favorite songs that I always want to have with me like Electric Feel by MGMT and Today by Zero 7. Sometimes I also put songs on here that I have never listened to but want to make sure I hear.
2nd – Workout Music. A manual list of songs that pump me up!
Hmmm. Yup. I’ve probably spent too much time tweaking these lists but hey – now you don’t have to! Hope this helps ya’ll get the most out of all that awesome technology in front of your face and in your pocket.
Bonus tip – selecting a group of songs like an album for instance, and then hitting Shift-Cmd-N in iTunes on a Mac creates a new playlist full of the selected songs! This is really useful when you want to burn a CD from one artist ^_^