How to Collaborate with iTunes Genius - dummies

How to Collaborate with iTunes Genius

By Tony Bove

The Genius feature works with Apple’s iTunes Store content to match your tastes to other iTunes users using a technique called collaborative filtering. The Genius feature analyzes the music in other people’s iTunes libraries — people who also have the same song you selected (if they also turn on the Genius feature in iTunes). All this information is shared anonymously. The only music Genius knows, however, is music in the iTunes Store.

For the Genius feature to work, you need an iTunes Store account, and you need to select the Share Details about Your Library with Apple check box — either when you first start using iTunes or by choosing Preferences from the iTunes menu on a Mac or from the Edit menu on a Windows PC, clicking the Store tab, and selecting the Share Details About Your Library With Apple check box. When you add new music, you can tell iTunes to immediately update the Genius feature with new information by choosing Store→Update Genius.

To use the Genius feature, click the option menu button next to a song, album, or artist to see the option menu. Choose one of the following:

  • Start Genius: Start the Genius feature if it is not turned on yet and add Genius selections to the Up Next list.
  • Create a Genius Playlist: Create a Genius playlist starting with this song, album, or artist, with songs suggested by the Genius.
  • Genius Suggestions: View a list of Genius suggestions in your library based on the song, album, or artist.

The Genius creates a special Genius playlist with the name of the song. You can refresh the Genius playlist with a new batch of songs based on the selected song by clicking the Refresh button in the upper-right corner of the Genius playlist. When you refresh a Genius playlist, you lose the previous version of that playlist.

You can also rearrange the songs in the Genius playlist by dragging them. To sort the songs, click the column headers in the list pane — just like other playlists.

iTUnes genius
Playing a Genius playlist.

You can sync your saved Genius playlists with your iPod. Synchronized Genius playlists on the iPod contain the same songs that appeared in the iTunes version of the playlist.

The genius of iTunes is that it can take into consideration everything in your library and, comparing your library to other libraries, come up with an interesting mix of songs.

To give you a taste of what’s possible with the Genius feature, check out Genius Mixes — select Genius Mixes in the Playlists tab. iTunes compiles a set of Genius mixes based on your library. Each square represents a separate mix. As you hover over a square, a play button appears; click the play button to play the mix.