Question about advanced Multi-Segment Smart Playlist System

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MrZebra77

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After reading a PDF document posted here regarding advanced smart playlist ideas, I implemented my own system.

I have 42 Smart Playlists that picks up songs from my library.

They range from things like songs rated 4* or higher within the last 10 CDs I bought, 5* songs, never listened to songs etc...

Most segments are set to return only 3-4 songs each. For example the Last 10 Albums purchased segment is broken down in 4 smart playlists for 3 tracks that are 4* or up, 4 tracks that are 3* or up, 3 tracks that have at least 1* and 4 tracks regardless of rating from the last 10 albums.

All 42 smart playlists combined together can return between 120 up to 160 tracks (Some segments are designed to sometimes not return any tracks) and all of them (Except maybe the never played tracks one) are set to only play tracks that have not been played in the last 2,3 or 5 days.

And then I bring it all together in 1 playlist set to select tracks from all 42 Sub Playlists and is limited to 100 tracks.

One thing I noticed is that most of the time, I won't play all 100 tracks. To ensure a perfect rotation, I restart it every day or every 2 days and I notice that sometimes tracks don't get recycled properly (By recycle, I mean when I restart the master playlist, all songs that have been played in the last day or 2 should get replaced by tracks that fit the criteria of each smart playlist but that have not been played in the last 2,3 or 5 days)

But instead it looks like it's doing is like, I did say that it's picking up 100 songs from a mixed pool of up to 160 songs. So if I played 40 songs, and then restart the playlist, instead of replacing all 40 songs in their respective playlists by fresh ones to then pick up 100 for the pool again (Or replace 40), it just completes to 100 from the songs that were initially left out of the 100. So for example, if it had 150 songs total, picked 100, I played 40, so then it picked 40 from the 50 initially left out.

Where this becomes a problem is that now, the songs that just got played are still in the playlists and by the time I restart the playlist again, they could pop again since it's been more than 2-3 days since they were played.

Is there a way to force it to refresh all songs in the smart playlists every time I restart the main playlist? Is setting the master playlist to NOT limit to 100 tracks the solution? (Since I rarely play more than 50-60 tracks at a time anyway, wouldn't be a big deal)

All this happens when I play on my iPod, In iTunes, when I play the same playlist, songs are replaced in realtime and the playlist is always playing the first track!

Due to the complexity of my system, when I restart the playlist before leaving home, it can take easily 30 seconds before musice starts playing! I wonder if setting the master playlist to not limit the tracks would fix this delay problem (Which is not that big a deal, a minor inconvenience)

Has anyone noticed similar behaviours (Or found solutions) when using advanced playlist systems like this?
 

rockmyplimsoul

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What exactly do you mean by "restart the main playlist"?

Also, a couple other questions:

- Is your iPod set to sync to only the "main" playlist, or do you sync to all 42 playlists?

- Are you changing the content of the playlists in iTunes at any time between iPod synchronizations? If so, how?
 

MrZebra77

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rockmyplimsoul said:
What exactly do you mean by "restart the main playlist"?
Exiting the playlist, and selecting it again from the playlist menu so that I get 100 fresh songs. It takes about 30 secs before music starts playing.

rockmyplimsoul said:
- Is your iPod set to sync to only the "main" playlist, or do you sync to all 42 playlists?
I sync EVERYTHING on my iPod, so yes all playlists involved here and all tracks in my library are on my iPod.

rockmyplimsoul said:
- Are you changing the content of the playlists in iTunes at any time between iPod synchronizations? If so, how?
Except for Podcasts episodes which download by themselves or Free Singles of the week that I sometimes "Buy" from the iTunes store, I always sync my iPod before making any changes (Including adding new albums)
 

studogvetmed

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Do any of your playlists use:

Podcast is:

Or Video kind?

These things will break smart updating on the iPod....

I am trying to wrap my head around your system, but I may not understand it completly. If live updating is working, it will only "Refreash" anything that has fallen off do to the criteria you put forth. There is noway on the iPod to make it get ALL new songs into a playlist. But I might be misunderstanding your issue...

Your delay problem is related to the exceptionally large number of playlists that it relies on. From the smartplaylist article, it's spoken about. A way to try to decrease this, is to copy your ultimate pool into a non smartplaylist, and have your playing playlists call from this one playlist. This way you don't have to necessarily keep all the other playlists on the iPod, but it means you have to sync a little more often to update the non-smart pool from iTunes.

Edit: rereading your post, it sounds like there is a chance that your playlist is not live updating on the iPod, if played songs aren't falling out of the playlist.

Review all conditions in all your playlists to look for conditions that might break live updating....
 
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MrZebra77

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No, I don't use Podcast or Video Kind at all. I think all of the 42 playlists are in fact pulling from other playlists. They are used only to limit the number of songs and put the last played criteria to force rotating.

For example, the Last 10 Albums 4* and up playlist is set to:

Match All Criteria
Playlist is "Last 10 CDs 4*+"
Last Played Not In Last 2 Days.
Limit to 3 Songs.

And my Master Playlist is basically.

Match Any Criteria
Playlist is "Sublist 1"
Playlist is "Sublist 2"
Playlist is "Sublist 3"
...
Playlist is "Sublist 42"
Limit to 100 songs

And well, it's not that live updating is not working at all, it's just that some songs will just reappear on the next iteration.

My master playlist is set to limit to 100 songs, and if I was to drop the limit criteria, it would be around 150-160. Now if I play only 40 tracks, what will happen, is that the 2nd time I start the playlist, it will pick 100 songs from the remaining 110-120 but the 40 I played on the 1st round don't seem to be removed from the sublists so that by the time I start the playlist a 3rd time, some songs might just play again. It is possible that some songs just get picked again the 3rd time since they have been played more than 2-3 days ago. When I was looking at the last played date in iTunes I saw A LOT of songs that were played 3-4 days ago that I think it's more than just a coincidence that some songe just got chosen again, that's why I'm thinking it's not refreshing tracks if the master playlist has more songs than all the underlying sublists.
 

cjmnews

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Usually the failure of smart playlists to get random music is caused by the number of songs being selected is less than or equal to the number of songs available.

That is to say if you have 5 songs that match a playlist that has a specific criteria and that playlist is told to get 10 songs, the 5 songs will not change order, even as time goes on.

The only solution that I have found it to reduce the number of songs the playlist requires or increase the number of songs. So if the Playlist is modified to get 4 songs then it will rotate. Or if the number of songs that match the criteria is increased to 11 or more.

This is especially true with the sub-playlists and have the biggest impact there.
 

rockmyplimsoul

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MrZebra77 said:
...but the 40 I played on the 1st round don't seem to be removed from the sublists so that by the time I start the playlist a 3rd time, some songs might just play again.
How is that possible if you have the Last Played criteria set for "Not in the last 2 days"? Once you play a song completely, it should then drop out of all sublists with Last Played criteria. However, one thing that will prevent an update of a song's play history is any change to that song in your library. Specifically, changing a song's tag in the library will prevent an update of the song's play history on your next sync. Also, if you change the contents of the playlists that you sync to (maybe tweak the criteria), then songs that drop out of the playlists as a result of your tweaking seem to not register play history from your iPod on the next sync. Don't know why, but I've seen that first hand.


MrZebra77 said:
It is possible that some songs just get picked again the 3rd time since they have been played more than 2-3 days ago. When I was looking at the last played date in iTunes I saw A LOT of songs that were played 3-4 days ago that I think it's more than just a coincidence that some songe just got chosen again, that's why I'm thinking it's not refreshing tracks if the master playlist has more songs than all the underlying sublists.
On all your sublists, try bumping the Last Played criteria out to 14 days (or more). That should mix things up better, but you may need to also drop the Master playlist's criteria down from 100 songs if the population it is choosing from shrinks.
 
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MrZebra77

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Ok, so to put the theory that having more songs in the sublists than the master playlist to the test, I changed the master playlist to limit to 200 tracks which is more than it could possibly have (Right now, it is at 134) so therefore, when I restart the playlist, songs will HAVE TO be dropped from the sublists and if they pop back up in 3 days, it really would be a coincidence and not a bug.

I also added more sublists (Bringing the total to 46!) but that's something else hehe!
 

Ausar

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I dunno if this helps but here is my setup. I have two smartlists that I call names of radio stations in my area. They both have a very "radio" feel to them and only contain 60 songs at any given time. One is called "92Q Jams" and consists of only R&B, Ballads, and a few "mellow" songs. The other is called, "Power 99 Hits" and includes the same playlists that the 92Q Jams smartlist uses but this one includes hip hop.

So here are my lists:
radior&b master list
radioballad masterlist
radiomellow masterlist
radiohiphop masterlist
radior&b short list (limited to 40 songs)
radioballad short list (limited to 10 songs)
radiomellow short list (limited to 10 songs)
radiohiphop short list (limited to 10 songs)

For both of my main radio station playlists, I have 3 playlist is rules.
For my short lists, I have 2 rules, playlist is, and playcount is.

For my master lists, I have 1 rule, comment contains.

My master lists will grow whenever I put "radior&b, radioballad, radiohiphop, or radiomellow" in a songs comment box. Then, the short list will pull 10 random songs from the master lists whose playcount is 0. This way I always have a fresh set of songs. Eventually, I will have played every song and I will reset all songs playcount back to 0 to refresh my lists.

I hope this will help you.
 

MrZebra77

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Ok, I think I found what was causing the problem all along.

Recently, I bought and started playing some PopCap Games (Including the ones that are also available for the iPod) on the PC. And for that type of game, I prefer to turn off the music in the games option and fire up an iTunes playlist in the background.

The playlists I was using for this purpose was not that ultra-complex playlist mentionned previously, but some "On-The-Go like playlist that survived deletion on sync" so to speak, basically a set of either 3-4 or sometimes up to 10 of my favorite albums that I like to listen to while playing games on the computer.

Now the problem is, all tracks from the 3-4 albums in question in effect get "Blacklisted" for a few days from my daily-rotative comute-to-work playlist. And I noticed that even if I don't play those playlists for 2-3 days prior to an iPod sync (In hopes of preventing disruption) well, since the playlists are updated in realtime in iTunes (As soon a song that was part of one of those 46 sub playlists gets played, it gets replaced immediately) and when I sync my iPod well, the playlists gets changed where all those songs from my current 3-4 favorite albums removed and therefore won't play for another 2-3 days (Next time I restart the playlist, some tracks _could_ get picked again)

So that's what's been happening, when I sync my iPod, the playlists are synced, and I typically sync about every week or so, so during that week, every day or 2, I restart the playlist which causes tracks to rotate but when I sync my iPod again a week later, most of the songs in the sublists will just reappear since well, when the iPod synced the play counts and last played, they played say 4-5 days ago so it was more than 2-3 days ago so then remained in the playlists because as far as iTunes is concerned, they are still valid.

Which brings a 2-part solution.

To avoid disrupting my day-to-day playlist, I decided to rerip the CDs I normally play while gaming to OGG files using QMP (Which is what I was using before getting an iPod and therefore had to start using iTunes) so when I game, I'll just play the OGG files through QMP and it won't disrupt the playlists in iTunes.

But about the songs reappearing due to the playlist being still valid when I resync, the best solution is to select all tracks in the playlist and deleting them so that it refills it in a truly random fashion. But since I have 46 playlists to do that to, that can take some time. So what is the JavaScript command to automate this delete-all-forced-refresh of a playlist? So I can copy-paste the code in a .js file 46 times and edit each lines accordingly to do this to all playlists?
 

MrZebra77

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Anyone?

Is there a guide online for JavaScript or VBScript for interacting with iTunes using Windows Scripting (To do my Playlist-Randomizing Deletions)
 
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