Playlists are one of the best, and most creative ways to organize music in iTunes, and to listen to music on your iOS devices. But sometimes, it can be hard to figure out how to make complex playlists. In this week's column, I look at three questions about playlists, both standard and smart. And I also look at an issue where album art, for some albums, changes on iOS devices.
Playing multiple playlists in order
Q: Is there a way to play several playlists in sequence? Placing them in a folder doesn't retain the song order.
I can think of two ways you can play several playlists in order. The first involves using regular playlists, and the second uses a smart playlist to combine several regular playlists.
Using the first method, let's say you have three playlists that you want to play in order, and they are named Playlist 1, Playlist 2, and Playlist 3. These three playlists could be regular or smart playlists.
Create another playlist — let's say it's called Combined Playlist — and drag each of the other playlists onto it in iTunes. First drag Playlist 1, then Playlist 2, then Playlist 3. When you look at Combined Playlist, you'll see that it contains all the tracks from the three original playlists, in order.
The second method uses a smart playlist to combine three regular playlists. Create one with the conditions Playlist is Playlist 1, Playlist is Playlist 2, and Playlist is Playlist 3. Make sure that this playlist matches Any of the following rules at the top of the window.
As long as you don't change the sort order of the smart playlist (by clicking any of the column headers), or set the playlist to play in random order, the songs will play in the order of the playlists you use as its sources.
Q: I enjoyed your article about creating complex smart playlists. I'm trying to create a playlist of all songs in the pop genre where the comment field is not blank, but I can't get it to work. Any ideas?
This is actually quite simple, and you can use the same idea to create playlists where any field is empty. Just create a smart playlist with the condition Comments is ; don't type anything in the last field. The smart playlist window should look like this:
After the first condition, you can add another, such as Genre is Pop to obtain the smart playlist you want. You could also use this technique to find tracks where certain tags aren't filled in, such as the Year tag, or the BPM tag, so you can enter metadata for those tags.
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