Playlists are lists of songs (or other items from your library, such as audiobooks) that you can create to organize your library. For example, you might want to create a list of songs to listen to while jogging. You might want to create playlists to suit specific moods or to organize songs with a certain theme.
If you have been using Winamp for a while, you probably know about playlists: Winamp uses them all the time.
Playlists on the iPod are viewable in the Media Library by expanding the iPod view. This can be done by double clicking on the iPod (under Devices) or clicking the triangle to the left of the iPod.
You can create standard playlists or a Smart Playlist. Standard playlists are created manually and are not automatically updated as your library changes (exception: songs you delete from your library are deleted from the playlists that include those songs). Smart Playlists are created based on rules you set up, and are automatically updated as your library changes.
Adding a song to a playlist does not remove it from the library; it places a pointer (or reference) to the file in the playlist. A single song can be added to any number of playlists.
The playlists on the iPod are independent of the ones in the Winamp Media Library (unless you sync them). A playlist called "My best" in the ML might not be present on your iPod - and the other way round. It is even possible to have a playlist with the same name but different songs in it on the iPod and in the ML.
To create a new standard playlist on the iPod:
- Right click on the iPod under the Devices section
- Click "New Playlist"
- Name the playlist
Adding songs to a playlist via Media Library -> iPod view:
- Select which item(s) you want to put into a playlist (Ctrl and Shift can be held to select multiple items)
- Right click on a highlighted item
- Expand the "Send To Playlist..." menu
- Click the playlist to add the items to or create a new playlist by clicking "New Playlist"
Smart playlists (=SPL) are like playlists, but with more rock.
You'll see that they look a bit different to normal playlists, and thats because they are. You don't tell it what songs to put in the playlist, you tell it what kind of song you want in the playlist and it sorts out the details for you! The whole thing is rule based - you define the rules, and ml_ipod creates the resulting playlist.
For example, you could create a Smart Playlist that's no more than 4 hours long, and includes only your highest rated rock songs.
Offline versus Live Mode
There are two major modes for Smart Playlists:
- In Offline mode, the rules are interpreted by the Winamp query engine. That means, everything that is possible for a Winamp "Smart View" is possible in the SPL query, too. The resulting playlist is written to the iPod as if it was a regular playlist. It is only updated while the iPod is connected to Winamp. Whenever you eject the iPod, all Offline SPL are updated before the new database is written to the iPod. After the iPod is disconnected, the contents of such a SPL is "frozen", it will not be changed until the iPod is reconnected to Winamp. This mode is active by default.
- In Live mode, the rules themselves (and not the resulting list of songs) are written to the iPod and are being interpreted by the iPod firmware. The contents of such playlists can change even while the iPod is away from the computer. This is very helpful if you use dynamic data in your rules, e.g. the rating (which can be changed directly on the iPod) or the last played time.
Live mode is what is used by iTunes. In Winamp/ml_ipod it must be actived explicitely in the preferences. There are mainly historical reasons for this, Live mode was unstable in the beginning, so we made Offline mode the default. With newer ml_ipod versions (1.40 and up), Live mode is quite stable now and should be turned on. This setting affects all Smart Playlists.
Creating Smart Playlists
To create a new smart playlist:
- Right click on the iPod under the Devices section
- Click "New Smart Playlist"
- Name the playlist
You'll notice a "Query" box. If you are already familiar with creating winamp views, the same type of query goes in there. To edit the query, select a smart playlist, then use the field to the right of "Query:".
If the word "query" gets you in a cold sweat, you should just hit the "Edit" button next to it, and create away! (For the edit button to work, you need Winamp 5.04 or better.) Use either the Simple View Editor or Advanced Editor to develop your query. When you're done, just press OK to get back to the playlist. WOAH, you now have a buttload of songs in your playlist.
Nothing lasts forever, so you might want your playlist to stop at some point, say, after 2 hours. To do this, just use the drop down box on the right, and change it to "Mins", then type 120 into the box next to it. Now your playlist should be around the 120 minute mark, and filled with the type of music you want. You can limit the number of songs, too.
If you have enabled Live Mode in the preferences, you will see a LIVE indicator in the lower right corner, right above the Eject button. But wait, sometimes there is no "Live" indicator? This means that you have created a query that can not be processed by the iPod firmware. Unfortunately, the iPod firmware is not as capable as the Winamp query engine, so some queries can not be performed by the iPod. In these cases ml_ipod uses the Offline Mode as a fallback for the playlist.
The most important limitations of the iPod firmware to live playlists:
- No mixing of AND and OR operators possible, all must be either AND or OR.
e.G. the following will not be possible in a live SPL: genre = Rock AND rating > 3 OR playcount > 10
- No grouping (with brackets) allowed, any bracket in the query string will prevent the SPL from being live
e.G. this is ok: "rating > 3 OR playcount > 10" but this is not: "( rating > 3 ) OR ( playcount > 10 )"
- Only the following fields may be used in the query:
If any of these preconditions is not met, the SPL will go into offline mode.
There is one quirk with the smart playlists: It doesn't query the iPods database, but the Local Media database (that is, the Media Library in Winamp). If all the songs on your iPod are also in your Media Library, then it will work just fine. However if they are not, then you may not be able to use the Smart Playlists, at least not in Offline mode. Sorry, but those are the breaks.
Don't ask to change this, it is a design decision that was necessary to be able to use the powerful Winamp query engine. Unfortunately, there is no API to tell this engine to use anything but the Winamp ML database :-( And nobody wants to code a rewrite of the query engine just for ml_iPod. Time is spent much better with some friends and a good German beer.
In Live mode the smart playlists will still be viewable on the iPod (once ejected) even if files are not in the Media Library.
Transferring a Winamp playlist to the iPod
As stated earlier, the playlists on the iPod are independent of the ones in the Winamp Media Library. But you can copy a Winamp playlist to your iPod quite easily. The Playlist section of the Media Library must be used to do that.
To transfer a ML playlist to the iPod:
- Right click on a playlist in the Playlist section of the Media Library
- Expand the "Send to:" menu
- Click on the iPod you wish to transfer to
Now all the songs in that playlist are transferred to the iPod (if they are not there already), and a playlist with the same name and contents is created. If a playlist with the same name already exists on the iPod, it is updated to be an exact copy of the one in Winamp ML (songs are added, removed or reordered in the iPod playlist).
Transferring an iPod created (On-The-Go) Playlist To Winamp
With ml_ipod, you can transfer iPod made playlists (On-The-GO ones) into winamp easily. First be sure you saved the playlist on your iPod using the 'Save Playlist' button found in the 'On-To-Go' playlist at the bottom. Now plug your iPod into your PC and look for the newly saved playlist in the iPod drop down area showing all your playlists. Drag-and-Drop that playlist on top of the 'Playlist' tab in your Winamp Library. You will now be asked to name the playlist.
Sorting a playlist
Playlists can be sorted by track number, artist, album, title, last played, or randomly. There is also an option to to smart shuffle the playlist which will group or separate tracks by album, artist, or genre
- Select a playlist on the iPod
- Click the "Sort by..." button
- Click which sort method you would like to use
Remember: Sorting must not be one of the "smart shuffle" options if you want to have a live smart playlist.
Re-arranging Playlist Order
As of ml_iPod v3.00p11, Playlists can now be arranged in any desired order instead of simply alphabetical order. This is done in ml_iPod via drag-n-drop method. Just drag any playlist under the iPod view to the desired position between two other playlists and sync your iPod.
To go back to alphabetic sorting, you have to reenable it in the preferences, on the "Features" tab.
Renaming a playlist
- Right click on a playlist on the iPod
- Click "Rename Playlist"
- Enter the new name in the Rename Playlist window
Deleting a playlist
There are two options for deleting a playlist. The first is to "Remove Playlist Only" and the other is to "Remove Playlist and Files." "Remove Playlist Only" will only remove the playlist and not touch any of the files contained in the playlist. However, the second option WILL remove both the playlist and the files in the playlist from the iPod. Please use caution when using the second option.
To delete a playlist:
- Right click on a playlist that is on the iPod.
- Click either "Remove Playlist Only" or "Remove Playlist and Files"