Randomly selecting albums, rather than songs, to fit on my iPod.
November 25, 2006 8:02 AM   Subscribe

How can I use iTunes smart playlists to fill my iPod with a good mix of new, favourite and random albums (not just songs)?

My iTunes library is now too big to fit on my 40 GB iPod, and rather than manually manage what goes on there I would like to use smart playlists to give me a mixture of old and new stuff I would like to listen to. There are, of course, already many guides to doing this, but they all have one problem as far as I'm concerned; they all concentrate on individual songs rather than albums.

Is there a way to do this for albums using smart playlists? The "iPod Selection" playlist automatically created by iTunes to fit onto the iPod treats things as albums, but isn't dynamic and I can't see a way to regenerate it.
posted by chorltonmeateater to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a way to do this for albums using smart playlists?

No. If you're on a Mac you can use an Applescript like this one.
posted by cillit bang at 8:36 AM on November 25, 2006

Afaik, iTunes doesn't aggregate any information about favorites & such over "albums". But AppleScripts could aggregate such information and build random traditional playlist using only whole albums.

Now smart shuffle might influence random playlist creation like it infuences shuffling. But, even if this works, I doubt you'll get whole albums, just bigger chunks of albums.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:38 AM on November 25, 2006

I think something has changed in the smart-playlist selectors so that you can select an album-full.

Check this out. Create a smart playlist with whatever rules you want, and then "limit to N [MB/GB/whatever] selected by album"

It's that selected by album part that seems to do it. It seems to take an inclusive rather than exclusive approach—I just created a smart playlist with 25 GB of music I haven't listened to in the past 60 days; it has included albums where I'm pretty sure I've listened to at least one of the tracks.

I'm not sure about this—it might be a fluke of the test playlist I created—but it does look like whole-album selections.
posted by adamrice at 4:28 PM on November 25, 2006

"limit to N [MB/GB/whatever] selected by album"

Sadly that just sorts all the matching tracks alphabetically by album title and selects the first X gigabytes from the list. I guess it does help ensure you get whole albums, but it doesn't behave the way you think.
posted by cillit bang at 9:03 PM on November 25, 2006

has anyone found a solution to this for PC? (i cant run those applescripts)

having a 60gb ipod and 180gb library is a real pain. i always listen to albums, not individual songs, so just random-filling is not really what i want to do. i imagine i am not the only one, i find it hard to believe no one has created an app for this or something!
posted by johnhz at 11:34 AM on October 15, 2007


After tireless searching, I finally found out how to add truly random albums to my iPod via a smart playlist. This is not straight forward and you'd think Apple would make it easier for those of us who have iTunes libraries bigger than our iPod capacities... but alas they have not. Here's the link (thanks to Myra!):


"* First put your random to "random by albums" (preferences).

Then make a smart playlist with these rules:
* No rules
* Limit to [size iPod] selected by [random]
* [v] live updating

Now you get a cool random album playlist. If you don't like some of them, delete them and new albums will pop up in their place. A whole new list is made by deleting them all."

This works and is AWESOME!
posted by johnhz at 6:08 PM on October 15, 2007 [5 favorites]

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