The Not-in-Playlist playlist

Reader Bruno Grieco is more interested in not-having than having in regard to iTunes’ playlists. He writes:

I often receive MP3s from friends and when they open, they are copied to iTunes’ library. As time goes by, the library gets filled with stuff I don’t want anymore. Since the stuff I want is already sorted into playlists, I would like to make a smart playlist with songs that are not in any playlist. Is there a way to do that?

Sure. Before I offer a couple of Smart Playlist techniques, allow me to refer you to the always-helpful Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes where you’ll find Doug Adams’ Not in any Playlist To Playlist v1.0. This AppleScript will do just what its name promises—locate tracks that aren’t in a playlist and place those tracks in their own playlist. Once in that playlist, you can select them all, hold down the Option key, and press Delete. You’ll see a warning asking you if you’d really like to delete the tracks from your iTunes library. You do, so press OK.

Note that if you have a lot of tracks, it can take a long time for the script to do its job.

Now, to the smart playlist. Depending on how many playlists you have, you can approach this a couple of different ways.

The first is to create a Smart Playlist (File -> New Smart Playlist) that includes conditions along the lines of:

Playlist is not X Playlist is not Y Playlist is not Z

Repeat for all the playlists in your iTunes’ Source list.

If you have lots of playlists, this quickly gets tiresome. You have another way.

Choose File -> New Folder. This creates a new folder in iTunes’ Source list. Name it something like “All My Playlists.” Drag all your playlists into this folder. Now create a new smart playlist that reads:

Playlist is not All My Playlists.

The resulting smart playlists should contain all tracks that aren’t part of the playlists within your All My Playlists folder.

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