Poor Job of iTunes playlist import and emulation

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Poor Job of iTunes playlist import and emulation

Postby Pitney » Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:44 pm

As iTunes is the gorilla in the room that MediaMonkey wants to supersede, it needs to do a much better job of importing iTunes playlists. Here is MM's big fail along with one related suggestion.

1. MM imports the iTunes playlists but doesn't maintain the criteria that was used to create the playlist!! In other words, once in MM not only can't the playlist criteria be edited (other than changing the playlist name) but the playlist is frozen. For instance, if I have a Beatles playlist and later add a Beatles song to my collection it won't show up in the converted (dumb) playlist. That's because instead of converting the iTunes SMART playlist to an MM AUTO playlist it converts all iTunes playlists to normal (dumb) playlists. In short, MM imports the iTunes playlists as frozen, fixed entities and doesn't pick up the criteria.

2. In the AutoPlaylist/Advanced "Search Criteria", unlike iTunes SmartPlaylist, you can't apply "All" to some criteria and "Any" to other criteria, it's one or the other. That is very limiting because there are many situations where I want to specify "All" to some criteria and "Any" to other criteria. For instance, using a Beatles example, let's say in my collection there are many individual Beatles songs along with entire sides of CD's. Plus there are songs by the individual Beatle artists. And now I want a Beatles playlist that only has individual songs (no sides of CD's) and also includes songs by the individual Beatle artists.

In iTunes it's easy, the 1st criteria specifies ALL "Track Length" is less than 10 (or whatever) minutes. Following that is criteria with ANY of the following rules: artist is Beatles, artist is John Lennon, artist is Paul McCartney, artist is Ringo Starr, artist is George Harrison. That simple playlist setup cannot be done in MediaMonkey since it requires that either "All" or "Any" that must apply to all the criteria.
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Re: Poor Job of iTunes playlist import and emulation

Postby Lowlander » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:38 am

1) Point 2 already explains why 1 isn't possible. The different software don't have the same criteria options, thus you can't translate this between different software. Furthermore it is a bit more complicated as I assume that iTunes like MediaMonkey doesn't store that you want Beatles and Rock songs, but instead it only stores ID values for these Criteria. These would differ between software.

2) Often discussed already. You can get around it by using multiple AutoPlaylists and then a master AutoPlaylist referencing these multiple AutoPlaylists. It can get complicated, it clunky, but can get you the desired result.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)
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Re: Poor Job of iTunes playlist import and emulation

Postby Pitney » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:22 am

Thanks for your reply.

> The different software don't have the same criteria options, thus you can't translate this between different software.
But the import could be done much more intelligently. For instance, when importing an iTunes SMART playlist MM could create an AUTO playlist (instead of the current dumb "normal" playlist), then present a dialog box saying "Because the softwares use different criterias you may need to make adjustments". At that point the user would tweak it and as long as his iTunes SMART playlist didn't mix "All" and "Any" (which is missing from MM) it shouldn't be a problem. This way he will end up with an AUTO playlist in MM instead of a dumb, fixed, frozen playlist.

Another solution to the above would be if MM allowed the user to convert a "normal" playlist into an AUTO playlist by adding criteria, etc.

> You can get around it by using multiple AutoPlaylists and then a master AutoPlaylist referencing these multiple AutoPlaylists.
Thanks for the tip. Like you said it's somewhat clunky, but at least there is a workaround. Of course the more elegant solution would be for MM to incorporate the capability of applying "All" to some criteria and "Any" to other criteria, just like iTunes has done for many, many years.
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Re: Poor Job of iTunes playlist import and emulation

Postby Peke » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:15 am

Hi,
1. It may look easy from your standpoint, but know that main iTunes DB is encrypted and exported/backup version is fairly limited and no SMART. Transition from one proprietary software (SMART playlists are Apple design) to another is very hard job. It would be easy if Apple gave us spec for their SMART playlists for free (if even possible) See MMW example of MMW auto playlist structure "My Top 100"
Code: Select all
[Common]
QueryVersion=1
QueryType=2

[Basic]
SongTitle=
Artist=
Album=
Genre=
Comment=
Lyrics=
AnyField=
YearFrom=-1
YearTo=-1
SortOrder1=
SortOrder2=
SortOrder3=

[Adv]
ConditionsCount=2
OrdersCount=2
LimitTop=1
Top=100
LimitMB=0
MaxMB=650
LimitLen=0
MaxLen=74

[AdvCond1]
DBField=Songs.PlayCounter
Condition=32
Value=0

[AdvCond2]
DBField=STAT
Condition=201
Value=

[AdvSO1]
Order=Songs.PlayCounter
Asc=0

[AdvSO2]
Order=Songs.LastTimePlayed
Asc=0



2. That is improved in MM5
Best regards,
Pavle
MM Core Developer and Admin of free MediaMonkey extensions Hosting
Image
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Re: Poor Job of iTunes playlist import and emulation

Postby Pitney » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:44 pm

Peke,

Thank you for your note and explanation, I now see why you can't precisely import the iTunes SMART playlist. Since that's the case then there are a couple of solutions

1. Allow the conversion of static (fixed) playlists to dynamic (SMART/AUTO). When MM imports an iTunes playlist it converts it from dynamic to static. If the user could convert it back to dynamic (ie, AUTO) and, of course, manually add any of the necessary criteria, that would solve one serious problem. Reason being MM's limitation when importing iTunes playlists -- converting them to static -- makes those playlists essentially useless other than having an accurate register of songs frozen at that moment in time. But if the user could take that register/table of songs and convert the playlist to a dynamic one where appropriate songs would be added automatically, then it would become very useful.

2. Add the capability (as mentioned in my opening post) to apply "All" to some criteria and "Any" to other criteria in the same playlist. This has nothing to do with importing from iTunes and is a very useful function that has been incorporated in iTunes for many years.
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Re: Poor Job of iTunes playlist import and emulation

Postby Lowlander » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:40 pm

1) There would be no way for MediaMonkey to know what Criteria created that Smart Playlist, iTunes doesn't provide that info, only a static list of files.
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Re: Poor Job of iTunes playlist import and emulation

Postby Pitney » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:11 pm

I understand that. But anyone doing the importing obviously still has iTunes so they would have access to the iTunes playlists and the criteria that created each one. Using that information they could manually specify criteria in MediaMonkey, assuming that MM allows for the conversion from a static playlist to a dynamic (AUTO) playlist. I know MM doesn't have that feature at this time, but I'm suggesting such a useful addition for a future version.
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Re: Poor Job of iTunes playlist import and emulation

Postby Lowlander » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:54 pm

No, it doesn't. There is no way to gather Criteria from a static Playlist. So you'd manually need to create an AutoPlaylist and that's the situation already. iTunes doesn't even show that the Playlist used to be a Smart Playlist, so only the user would know.

Your idea is great, of course, but it's technically not feasible.
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Re: Poor Job of iTunes playlist import and emulation

Postby Snofru » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:47 am

I went through the same thing switching from iTunes to MediaMonkey. I recreated all smart playlists by hand and it was not a very tedious job. Thereby I found out that MM is much more flexible than iTunes and you can be a lot more creative with smart playlists ( I never found the need to combine "all" with "any" as was discussed here).

Not for a second I regretted the switch from iTunes to MM.
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