iTunes Tune-up 6: The Smart To-Do List

By

Ralph Graves

Ralph Graves is one of Crutchfield's blog editors, and part of the company's social media team. He writes about home audio/video gear, specializing in Apple-related and wireless technologies. Ralph holds a master's degree in music composition, and his works have been released on various labels. He's served as product manager for an independent classical and world music label, produced several recordings, and worked extensively in public broadcasting. Since 1984 he's hosted a weekly classical music program on WTJU, and is also active as a blogger and podcaster.

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In an ideal world, each song I add to my iTunes library would have all the appropriate fields filled out the way I wanted them. In reality, my library is now a few years old and many tunes were imported before I even knew I wanted certain information included.

Adding that data after the fact can be time-consuming - especially without some way of noting which tracks you've changed and which ones still need work. I use the smart playlist function of iTunes to keep a running to-do list for me.

Recently I wrote about sorting songs by tempo. In order to retro-fit my tunes with that information, I needed some way of knowing which of the thousands of tracks I had still needed the Beats Per Minute (BPM) field filled out. Here's how I did it:

Step 1 - Create a new smart playlist.

Step 2 - Tweak as necessary (I removed things like classical music and podcasts).

Step 3 - Get to work.

Even with classical tracks and podcasts removed, the remaining BPM to-do list is still pretty imposing - it currently has about 3,100 songs. I work on it a little bit each day, though, and each day there are fewer tracks than before. The smart to-do list lets me easily pick up right where I left off.