How I handle playlists with my iPod

I have a huge collection of music, closing in on 30 GB (encoded at 256kbps AAC). How do I get this music to fit onto my 8GB iPod nano?

I have several playlists to accomplish this:

  • iPod Playlist – A smart playlist has every song rated three stars or higher that hasn’t been played in the past three weeks. This usually gets me a playlist that with about 6 GB (~800 songs) of music. Perfect for shuffle play and guarenteed to have fresh music, since no song has been played in the last three weeks.
  • Listen List – I usually throw the latest albums I have bought onto this playlist, or albums I haven’t listen to in awhile that I want to revisit. Usually has about 4-5 albums.
  • Unrated Songs – A smart playlist listing songs I haven’t rated yet. I limit this to 50 songs so it fit on my iPod.
  • Relaxing Music – A custom playlist of music (usually acoustic) that is nice to listen to when trying to relax. Right now weighs around 500 MB.
  • Podcasts – I sync the 10 most recent podcast episodes to my iPod.

Every morning before I leave for work, I plug in my iPod to make sure it has any podcasts that downloaded overnight. I usually listen to a mix of music and podcasts (depending on my mood) on the way to work. At work, depending on how busy it is I may have my iPod playing at a low volume inbetween calls.

When I get home from work, the first thing I do is sync my iPod again so the latest song ratings, last played information, and so on are uploaded. At the same time, my page is updated with what my iPod has played that day.

I still don’t understand how people claim drag/dropping music onto their music players is faster then this approach. I spend probably 2 minutes (and that is pushing it) managing my music each day. The initial effort of rating songs took work, but the flexibility and speed I gain via smart playlists are WELL worth it. iTunes is absolutely fantastic with playlist management and options, especially since iTunes 7 since it is real easy to update which playlists sync with my iPod.

One Reply to “How I handle playlists with my iPod”

  1. I only have 2.5 GB of music, so it’s not a problem fitting it onto my 4 GB iPod. My girlfriend has a 2 GB iPod and just syncs her ‘My Top Rated’ smart playlist with her library, which is several gigbytes in size.

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