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iTunes DJ is no Genius

April 6th, 2009


iTunes has been the best MP3 software for PC and Mac for years now but there are some things Apple still hasn’t gotten right. Most notably, the DJ feature which has been included for years now, is really nothing more than a modified “shuffle” interface. Sure, it randomly picks songs and plays a constant stream of tunes while allowing you to nix upcoming songs and see previously played tracks – but it could do sooo much more.

FIrst of all, DJ should automatically skip audiobooks, musicals, and any other genres that are associated with spoken word or need to be played in order. There’s no better way to end a party early than to break into Charlton Heston reading Genesis on the hi-fi. The same goes for the voicemail messages I’ve downloaded from my online service that end up stored in iTunes (my default Quicktime player.) Not party.

iTunes DJ also doesn’t understand length conventions when it comes to song selections. If a song is less than a minute long it’s probably not a real song – more of an interlude or skit – and it should be skipped. On the other hand, if a song is more than 6 minutes long or so it’s probably not a good party choice either – Americans like variety and we have short attention spans so skip the ballads Mr. DJ.

Finally, when it comes to parties iTunes DJ should skip the comedy tracks. Now I love Wierd Al songs as much as the next guy but I’d rather not show off my collection while the ladies are bumping and grinding. Jerry Seinfeld is funny too but he’s not easy to dance to.

All of these shortfalls are simple enough to fix and it’s not as if iTunes needs to develop any sort of artificial intelligence to filter out the junk. This DJ just needs some simple rules to rock the party (or the coding session).

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One Response to “iTunes DJ is no Genius”

  1. Matthew Blackford Says:

    I completely agree with you. Although you can restrict the DJ selections to be from a particular playlist. You could then build a smart playlist that excludes the type of files you listed above.

    What I would like to see is for the DJ to pick songs using the genius functionality based on the songs previously requested.

    What is your opinion on the security issues posed by giving your party guests your wireless password so that they can request songs?

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