Use iTunes Genius Mixes As Your Personal Music DJ

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create your own playlist itunesIf 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.

create your own playlist

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.

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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.

Other Selections

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.

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You can also click the Refresh button which re-mixes the list.

dj playlists

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.

Save Playlist

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.

how to create itunes 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.

how to create itunes playlists

Other Recommendations

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.

how to create itunes playlists

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.

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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.

create your own playlist

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.

Let us know if you use Genius Mixes. What do you like and dislike about it?

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Comments (4)
  • jesse

    I use this habitually on my home server with my 100+ GB library that I’ve accrued over the past 12 years. I then use those playlists in Subsonic and stream it to my iPhone using iSub. It’s like my own personal Pandora and helps me re-discover songs and artists that I had forgotten about.

  • nm

    I’ve been doing this a lot lately to put random music onto my iPhone so that I don’t get bored with my music selection. Great idea!

Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.