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If you’re the early adopting type living in an Apple ecosystem, you probably upgraded to iTunes 11 almost as soon as the bits reached the servers. You might not have noticed that Apple gave its iOS Remote app and Apple TV firmware shots in the arm to match. Of the two, Remote 3.0 is the larger update and brings a simpler UI that also takes advantage of iTunes’ new Up Next feature to add or prune out songs in ongoing playlists on a host computer. iPad owners reap the most rewards — the album view now expands in place to quickly drill down to a specific track. Apple TV viewers aren’t quite so coddled, although they too get Up Next support for iTunes 11 (and iTunes Match) as well as the usual rounds of speed-ups and bug fixes; we imagine a solution to some of the troubles with 5.1 is part of the package. No matter which update fits into your vision of musical harmony, you’ll find details at the source links.
If you don’t have a lot of time to keep up with all the latest music you like, finding fresh tunes can often be a challenge. You might also have a rather a larger collection of albums and songs in your iTunes library, but you have very little time to organize and create your own playlists. Well, Apple has you covered with an awesome iTunes feature called Genius Mixes.
Genius Mixes creates playlists of songs based on the songs it finds in your iTunes library. It also recommends other songs and albums by the artist or group of a selected song, as well as music by other artists in the iTunes Music Store that match the currently selected song.
How It Works
It’s fairly easy to set up a Genius Mix. Open iTunes and start playing a song that you want your mix based upon.
Now, click the Genius Mixes button at the bottom-left of the iTunes interface. iTunes will create a playlist that includes 10 artists similar to the current song you’re playing. The list is based on the songs you have saved in your iTunes library.
If this is all that Genius Mixes does that would be great, especially because it saves you the time of having to go through your library and select songs yourself to make up a playlist. But it does more.
After looking over your list, you might decide that the mix is not exactly what you want. Well, first you can select a song(s) you don’t want in the list and simply delete it. It won’t delete it from your iTunes library, but it will remove it from the Genius playlist.
You can also click the Refresh button which re-mixes the list.
You also might want to increase the limit of songs in the list. For the most part I have found Genius Mixes to be pretty good about matching songs, which seems largely based on the genre of music.
And finally, you can simply manually add songs that you would like to be included in the list. But you can’t add them to the Genius list itself. You need to turn that list into a regular playlist (File>New Playlist from Selection) and then add the songs you want.
You no doubt will want to save your Genius Mixes playlist once it’s set up the way you like. Apple has set up the left side of the iTunes interface to include a section just for your saved Genius Mixes playlists.
Also if you click on the Genius Mixes icon in the left column of the iTunes interface, iTunes will deliver up a bunch of random mixes, based on your iTunes library.
In the Genius Sidebar you will notice that when you select and play a song, iTunes will recommend songs and albums not in your library by the currently playing artists or group. Above that list will be a link to the artist page, if there is one, in the iTunes Music Store.
Below artist recommendations, you get other Genius Recommendations that are based on an algorithm of songs and albums similar to your selected song and played by other iTunes users throughout the world. These songs and albums are also ones found in the iTunes Music Store.
These recommendations are a great way to discover music new to you, even if you don’t purchase your music in the iTunes Music Store.
If for some reason Genius Mixes are not delivering good recommendations, you might try selecting Store>Update Genius, in the iTunes menu bar. This will send your iTunes library data to Apple so that it can in turn make better recommendations.
Finally, if you prefer, you can turn off Genius Mixes all together by also selecting Store>Turn Off Genius in the menu bar.
On occasion you may have songs in your iTunes library that are not available in the iTunes Music Store, and in that case Genius Mixes won’t work. But for the most part, I have found that the Genius Mixes feature creates a good playlist of songs – many of which I forgot I had.
For other iTunes related tips and features, check out MakeUseOf’s Big Book of iTunes Guide for free.
Roku and MP3tunes have formed a rather interesting partnership, which will allow users to upload their iTunes music to an MP3tunes locker, and you’ll be able to play your entire library, including the playlists, on your TV via Roku player. This was achieved by using Roku’s open SDK to create a channel that will in turn make good use of the MP3tunes API. A limited time offer is currently available which allows you to get $20 off a Roku HD or Roku HD-XR, along with a free, premium 50GB MP3tunes locker.