I know, I’m late to the party, especially considering that I work at the Apple store, but I have just discovered genius playlists on iTunes. They’re pretty amazing, I’ve been really impressed with how they work. I kept putting off activating the genius feature because my music library is so huge these days (170.5 gigs and growing). It took forever for it to go through everything, I eventually let it run when I went to bed and it was ready in the morning.
It came up with 12 different mixes from my library, punk, indie rock, alternative pop/rock, new wave, classic rock, alt singer/songwriter, classic R&B, mainstream rock, jazz, folk, and classical. I have serious issues with the names of a couple of the mixes. I loathe the moniker “alternative” when applied to rock music but I understand that it is a commonly used category. They have a much different definition of “New Wave” than I do and Blink 182 and Pearl Jam are poor choices for “punk” music IMO especially considering how much actual punk music I have.
If I ignore the naming conventions I really enjoy the mixes themselves. I think that this works better with really large collections, I probably could have put together mixes just as good but it would have taken me forever. As it is, I can start any of these mixes and really enjoy it.
It also does a good job of making a mix based off of a single song. I’ve saved a jazz mix on my itunes library and I fooled around with it on my iPod to good effect.
Of course whenever you have an automated system to pick out music there will be errors. I’ve had a couple of howlers so far. No, I really did burst out in laughter when these things came up. That jazz mix I mentioned is a great collection of mostly hard bop and scat singing. Inexplicably, it also put in “I will Follow Him” by little Peggy March. A quality pop tune, but it has no relation to jazz at all. The best one so far made my roommate knock on my door to see if I was alright. I was listening to the “punk” mix when a Celia Cruz song came on. My reaction was so loud that he worried about me.
Anyway, I’m having a blast and I highly recommend giving genius a try in iTunes.