I use a lot of Smart Playlists in iTunes, based on song ratings, genres, playcounts, and date last played (or not,) or skipped. It’s taken a few years, and some discipline, but it works fairly well:
- 1 – No CD comes into my collection (yes, I still buy real CDs) without being ripped into iTunes, listened to, rated, and the Genre corrected to what fits my scheme
2 – Genres: “Rock” music is classified as either plain rock, or a rock sub-genre, ie Pop Rock, Classic Rock, Alternative Rock, etc. New Age is either New Age Vocal, New Age Nature, or New Age Instrumental, for easy choice when I need something soothing. Country music is just plain Country, same for Classical, although I might need to find a way to split that apart soon.
3 – Ratings rule. Anything I would listen to on a regular basis is 4 stars. Anything I’m not sure about, but might be interesting, is 3 Stars, so I can find it and review it again later. Anything that is a favorite song/artist is 5 stars.
Keeping those genre tags organized allows easy Smart Playlist creation. For instance, I can build a playlist that is any song rated 4 stars or greater, where Genre is Alternative Rock. Or a playlist that has any Classical piece rated 4 stars or greater, if I’m in the mood for some true classic. I have another playlist that is any song with “rock” in the genre and rated over 4 starts. There’s a “4 Stars Country” playlist for trips back home to BFE.
My favorite playlist is the “4 Stars” playlist. This includes any song that is NOT Classical, New Age, or Audio books, and rated 4 stars or greater. It makes a very interesting and somewhat eclectic mix, and currently contains over 1350 songs. I’ve been listening to this playlist since 4/2, and have about another 400 songs to go before I’m finished.
In addition to the Smart Playlists, I have a few normal playlists that I build based on mood. There isn’t really any rhyme or reason other than “these are the artists/songs I feel like listening to today.”
Also, Video and anything spoken (audiobooks, comedians, etc) is kept separate from the song playlists. I wish the Smart Playlists could do an “or” command, but since they don’t I use a lot of “is not” specifications to keep stuff out.