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Using the Genius sidebar and creating Genius playlists

From: iTunes 10 Essential Training

Video: Using the Genius sidebar and creating Genius playlists

In this movie I want to talk about iTunes various Genius options. Genius is a feature of iTunes that examines the music you currently have in your iTunes library and then based on that information it can create Genius playlists and Genius mixes. Basically it looks at the music you have in iTunes and creates playlists around certain types of music. And it can also recommend new music from the iTunes Store that you don't currently have, but that you think you might like. In order to use Genius, you have to have an account for the iTunes Store. Once you have an account, you can turn on Genius, by going to Store > Turn On Genius.

Using the Genius sidebar and creating Genius playlists

In this movie I want to talk about iTunes various Genius options. Genius is a feature of iTunes that examines the music you currently have in your iTunes library and then based on that information it can create Genius playlists and Genius mixes. Basically it looks at the music you have in iTunes and creates playlists around certain types of music. And it can also recommend new music from the iTunes Store that you don't currently have, but that you think you might like. In order to use Genius, you have to have an account for the iTunes Store. Once you have an account, you can turn on Genius, by going to Store > Turn On Genius.

And here you'll see a brief description of what Genius is. You can click turn on Genius. Here I'm asked to enter my Apple ID and password for my account. Now in order to create mixes and find new songs, Genius needs to examine the music in your collection, and then store that information. So you've to agree to let iTunes send information about your music to Apple for examination. Now nothing personal is transmitted and no information is associated with you or your account. But some people are a little put off at the idea their computer sending information about their music preferences over the Internet.

So you have to agree to the Genius terms of service here before you can use it. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, just click Cancel, but again, it's really only sending information about your music, and nobody will find out about your polka obsession. So I'm going to agree to these terms and then click Continue. So now Genius is doing its thing, and you can see the steps here. First it's going to gather information about my iTunes library, then it's going to send that information to Apple, and then it's going to deliver your Genius results. Now I only have a very small library, so that happened pretty quickly. If you have a large iTunes library, it could take several minutes.

All right, so now that iTunes had finished analyzing the songs in my library, I can start using Genius. It says you can now create Genius playlists and use the Genius sidebar. Notice that Genius is appeared here in my Source pane. So let's talk about Genius playlists first. Basically what I can do now, is to pick a song that's currently in my iTunes library, I go to Music, and then based on whatever song I pick, Genius will pick other songs in my library that it thinks will go well with that song. Essentially it's creating a playlist for me that I don't have to put nearly as much effort into as I do with regular playlists or even Smart Playlists.

Because with the Smart Playlist, you still have to come up with the criteria for the playlist before iTunes can do its thing. So I could browse through my library and maybe I want to listen to something similar to California by Joni Mitchell. So I'll select it and then down in the lower right-hand corner of the window, I'll click the Genius button. And just like that I'm looking at 25 songs that iTunes thinks are in the same vein as the song I picked. You can see that Genius is selected in my Source pane, and up at the top you can see this playlist is based on California by Joni Mitchell.

Over to the right, I can choose to show more songs from the Limit to menu, so if wanted a longer list of songs I might choose say 50 songs. If I'm not thrilled with this list, I can click Refresh to get a new list of songs. Naturally the larger your music library, the more accurate results are going to be, but Genius will also get smarter over time and learn more about the songs you like. And like a regular playlist you're free to rearrange this playlist into any order you like better. And you can also delete individual songs from the playlist if you want. Now if you like this playlist so much that you want to keep a copy of it, click Save playlist.

And just like that a California Genius playlist has been added to my source pane. Saving is a good idea, because you can only have one Genius playlist generated at one time. So if I go back to my music library and pick another song and then click the Genius button again, you can see that the Genius is selected in the Source pane again, but now this list is based on All Apologies by Nirvana. But I can still get back to my California Genius playlist by coming here. And I still have the ability to choose how many songs I want listed, and to refresh this to get another list.

So that's how to create and save Genius playlists. Also found under the Genius section is Genius mixes. This is where iTunes handles absolutely everything for you. There is nothing to do in here, but look and listen. A Genius mix is a mix iTunes creates around your favorite music in your library. Now Apple doesn't really provide any information on how it determines what your favorite music is. I suspect that it has something to do with ratings and play counts, but don't quote me on that. But depending on the size of your library, you might find up to 12 different Genius mixes in here. And you can see they are represented by collage of album artwork from the songs that are featured in the mix, and rolling your mouse over a cover shows you what that mix is based on.

So here is my alternative pop rock mix, and you can see that's based on Weezer, Ben Folds Five, Foot Fighters and others. Here is the alternative singer songwriter mix, Britpop and Rock Mix, Punk Mix and so on. Again the more songs you have in your library the more Genius mixes you'll have. All you have to do here, just click on any play button on any of these collages, and the music will start playing right away. And that's really all there is to it. This is almost like tuning into a favorite radio station. Although you can't see what's coming up next, you can be pretty sure they will play something you like. Now also with Genius turned on, if you go to the iTunes Store, there you'll see personalized recommendations for songs you might want to purchase.

Notice we have Genius recommendations listed here on the right, as well as here on the main homepage, Genius recommendations. I can click See All. So I can see everything now that iTunes think I might like, based on what I have in my music library currently. So now it tells me you have the music by Elliott Smith, so it thinks I might like The Velvet Underground. I have the music by Fountains of Wayne, so it thinks I might like Steve Wheels. I don't necessarily agree with that, but these are just the recommendations. So that's the Genius feature of iTunes. Again, if you just let it do its thing, Genius will get smarter as time goes on, and you'll probably find that its recommendations, playlists and mixes keep getting better.

It does this by constantly analyzing your music. Now generally Genius will analyze and send info about your library once a week. You can also manually tell Genius to scan your library by going to Store > Update Genius. And if you ever want to turn off Genius, just go back to store, and choose turn off Genius. You can always turn it back on again at any time.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for iTunes 10 Essential Training
iTunes 10 Essential Training

60 video lessons · 19515 viewers

Garrick Chow
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 37s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      36s
  2. 31m 45s
    1. Opening iTunes for the first time
      3m 20s
    2. Exploring the Source pane
      4m 49s
    3. Using the playback controls
      6m 33s
    4. Setting general preferences
      3m 21s
    5. Exploring the interface differences in the Mac and Windows versions
      7m 14s
    6. Setting parental controls
      4m 39s
    7. Using keyboard shortcuts
      1m 49s
  3. 57m 19s
    1. Understanding file formats
      8m 58s
    2. Importing from a CD
      5m 41s
    3. Entering song info manually
      8m 40s
    4. Finding and adding album artwork
      6m 41s
    5. Adding lyrics to songs
      4m 2s
    6. Dragging in song files
      6m 32s
    7. Converting single files
      2m 24s
    8. Using the Automatically Add to iTunes folder
      5m 0s
    9. Joining tracks
      4m 46s
    10. Importing videos
      4m 35s
  4. 25m 44s
    1. Consolidating your library
      4m 8s
    2. Upgrading to iTunes Media organization
      2m 29s
    3. Extending your library
      4m 47s
    4. Working with multiple libraries
      2m 38s
    5. Finding duplicate songs
      3m 56s
    6. Moving a library
      7m 46s
  5. 1h 2m
    1. Browsing
      6m 34s
    2. Searching
      1m 52s
    3. The Snapback button
      1m 18s
    4. Rating songs
      2m 7s
    5. Exploring playback options
      9m 35s
    6. Creating playlists
      5m 53s
    7. Creating Smart Playlists
      7m 13s
    8. Creating playlist folders
      2m 55s
    9. Shuffling and repeating
      3m 4s
    10. Using iTunes DJ for party playlists
      7m 14s
    11. Using the Equalizer
      7m 1s
    12. Using the Visualizer
      4m 20s
    13. Using internet radio
      3m 27s
  6. 20m 6s
    1. Sharing over a network
      5m 6s
    2. Turning on home sharing
      4m 2s
    3. Burning discs
      6m 54s
    4. Using AirPlay to stream content from iTunes to an AppleTV or Airport Express
      4m 4s
  7. 38m 46s
    1. Store overview
      3m 29s
    2. Creating an account
      3m 28s
    3. Browsing for content
      4m 2s
    4. Searching for content
      3m 29s
    5. Purchasing content
      7m 32s
    6. Purchasing gifts for others
      3m 44s
    7. Redeeming iTunes gift certificates
      1m 15s
    8. Using the Genius sidebar and creating Genius playlists
      5m 50s
    9. Using the Ping social network
      5m 57s
  8. 9m 2s
    1. Finding and subscribing to podcasts
      6m 50s
    2. Listening to and interacting with enhanced podcasts
      2m 12s
  9. 27m 38s
    1. Managing your iPod
      7m 21s
    2. Syncing music and movies
      7m 16s
    3. Syncing photos from a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Syncing photos from a Windows computer
      3m 2s
    5. Syncing contacts and calendars from a Mac
      3m 5s
    6. Syncing contacts and calendars from a Windows computer
      3m 3s
  10. 14s
    1. Goodbye
      14s

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