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Using iTunes-Created Playlists

iTunes creates several special playlists for you. These include the Purchased playlists, Genius playlists, and the iTunes DJ.

Using the Purchased Playlists

Whenever you download content from the iTunes Store, it (more accurately, pointers to it) is added to the various purchased playlists in the STORE section of the Source pane.

The Purchased playlist contains items you've downloaded from the Store onto your computer. You also see playlists for content that you download from the Store using other devices, such as the iTunes app on an iPhone. Each device has its own playlist, and the playlists are named with the name of the device, such as Purchased on Brad Miser's iPad.

You can use these playlists to quickly access content you've downloaded. And, you can use these playlists just like playlists you create (for instance, to listen to songs you download).

Working with Genius Playlists

The Genius feature finds music and builds a playlist based on songs that "go with" a specific song. How the Genius selects songs that "sound good" with other songs is a bit of a secret, but it works amazingly well. You can have the Genius build a playlist for you in a couple of ways and then listen to or update it.

Creating and Using Genius Playlists

To create a genius playlist based on the current song, do the following:

  1. Find and play a song.
  2. Click the Genius button in the Information area at the top of the iTunes window or in the lower-right corner of the iTunes window. While the music plays, the Genius playlist is created, and you move to the new playlist where you see the songs that the Genius selected; the song that is currently playing is at the top of the list and is marked with the Speaker icon. At the top of the list of songs, you see the song on which the playlist is based along with tools you can use to work with the playlist, as shown in Figure 8.8.
Figure 8.8

Figure 8.8 This genius playlist is based on "Dare You to Move."

While you are the playlist's screen, you can do the following:

  • Choose the number of songs you want to include in the playlist from the Limit To menu at the top of the Content pane. You can choose 25, 50, 75, or 100 songs.
  • Refresh the playlist by clicking the Refresh button. This causes the Genius to select a new set of songs based on the song on which the playlist is based. How different the refreshed playlist is depends on how many songs "go with" the playlist's song in your Library and how many songs you have included in the playlist.
  • Save the playlist by clicking Save Playlist. The playlist is saved with the name of the song on which it is based as the playlist's title.

Your Genius playlists are stored in the GENIUS section of the Source pane. When you select a Genius playlist you've saved, you can work with it just like other playlists you've created. However, you can also change the numbers of songs to which the playlist is limited using its Limit to menu or refresh it by clicking the Refresh button.

You can also delete a Genius playlist just like other playlists—select the playlist you want to delete and press the Delete key.

Using Genius Mixes

When you select the Genius Mixes playlist, you see content iTunes has organized for you based on various characteristics of your music, such as genre or vocals, as shown in Figure 8.9. When you hover over a mix, you see the artists contained in the mix and the Play button at the center of the mix's thumbnail. Click the Play button to play the music in the mix. While a mix is playing, playback controls appear as you move over its thumbnail.

Figure 8.9

Figure 8.9 Genius mixes contain selections of your music based on different attributes, such as whether the music has vocals.

Using the iTunes DJ

The iTunes DJ is a special playlist that selects songs for you. You choose the source of the music and configure other aspects of the playlist. The DJ then selects and plays songs from this source, mostly randomly. One of the fun things about the DJ is that you can allow other people to request songs remotely using the Remote app on an iPod, iPhone, or iPad.

To use the iTunes DJ, select it in the Source pane. (If you've never used it before, some basic information about it appears; click Continue to move into the DJ.)

Configure the DJ by clicking the Settings button at the bottom of the iTunes window. The iTunes DJ Settings dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 8.10. On the dialog box, you can configure the following settings:

  • Number of songs displayed. Use the recently played songs and upcoming songs settings to determine the number of songs shown "before" the current one (meaning they have played) and "after" the current song in the Content pane.
  • Play higher rated songs more often. Check this check box to cause the DJ to choose songs you've rated with more stars "more often" than those you haven't rated or have rated with a lower number of stars.
  • Allow remote requests. Check the Allow guests to request songs with Remote for iPhone or iPod touch check box to allow people to request songs using a mobile device. You can also provide a message that people see when they access your DJ.
    Figure 8.10

    Figure 8.10 Use this dialog to configure certain aspects of how the iTunes DJ works.

  • Restricts requests to source. Check this check box and choose a source from the menu to limit the source of music guests can view and request.
  • Enable voting. If you check this check box, guests can vote on the order in which upcoming songs should play.
  • Require password. To require people to enter a password before they can access your DJ, check the Require password check box and enter the password in the box.

After you've configured the DJ, select the source of music you want to shuffle on the Source pop-up menu located at the bottom of the iTunes window. You can choose the Music source or any playlist or folder. The Content pane shows the songs the DJ selects. Use the playback controls to start the music playing. The current song is marked with the Speaker icon. Songs that have previously played are shown above the current song, and are grayed out. Upcoming songs appear below the current song, as shown in Figure 8.11.

Figure 8.11

Figure 8.11 The iTunes DJ playlist selects and plays music from the Source you see on the Source menu.

The iTunes DJ playlist plays forever. After it plays a song, it moves one of the recently played songs off that list, moves the song it just played into the recently played section, highlights and plays the next song, and adds another one to the upcoming songs section. This process continues until you stop the music.

You can manually add songs to the iTunes DJ. View a source to find the song you want to add, and then right-click that song. A menu of several options displays, as shown in Figure 8.12. Choose Play Next in iTunes DJ to have the song play next, or select Add to iTunes DJ to add the song to the beginning of upcoming songs list. The difference between this is that when you choose Play Next in iTunes DJ, the song is the next one played. When you choose Add to iTunes DJ, the song is added to the upcoming list after any other songs that have already been added.

Figure 8.12

Figure 8.12 The iTunes DJ playlist selects and plays music from the Source you see on the Source menu.

You can have the iTunes DJ refresh the list of upcoming songs by clicking the Refresh button. It replaces the current list of upcoming songs with a new one, except for those that have been added manually, which remain on the list.

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