iTunes Match and Playlists

November 17, 2011 by Gabe | [mmd] |

iTunes Match is nice but it has not altered my enjoyment of iTunes. However, one thing has been a bit of a surprise. All music really means all music on my iPhone.

Because I use my iPhone as a music device, I'm a smart list maniac. I have far more music than space (even on a 64GB iPhone 4S). I keep these lists on my phone:

  1. Best Songs smartlist (four or more stars)
  2. New 2 months smartlist (added within the last 2 months)
  3. Push to iPhone (manually curated list of songs/albums I want to always have available)
  4. Coding (manually curated list of music without lyrics. Predominately movie and game soundtracks)
  5. Random 2 GB smartlist (random selection of songs that are greater or less than 1 star)

I'm not going to get into the details of how these are built (maybe later) but the smart lists are actually subsets of other smart lists. Smartlists all the way down. They help limit my mobile music collection to just things I like or want to explore. However, iTunes Match has really thrown me for a loop.

If I choose to randomly play from my entire library, I now get music that does not exist in my carefully curated playlists. That means the random-play is choosing music that exists in the cloud but not downloaded. That's pretty cool but it messes with my playlists and expectations. Now all playlists are available on my iPhone. Even my "Undesired" or my wife's music collection (also undesired). Without specifically selecting a playlist, randomly playing a track is risky business. I might be exposed to Enya or Indigo Girls, and ruin an otherwise pleasant little moment.