Wednesday, May 18, 2011

iTunes Genius playlists not working for songs released after April 2010?

This is weird. After reading the article comparing Google's Instant Mix to iTunes Genius to a third I've never heard of (the article author works there), I decided to try the playlist feature again after not using it for quite a while. I followed along with the article, generating playlists for specific songs I had, but other songs didn't seem to produce a list whether they were obscure or popular.
Looking online, I found this discussion on Apple's forums and the consensus among these users is that Genius playlists stopped working for any song released after April 2010.

I tried the following songs that did not produce playlists:
  • Come Together, Abbey Road, Beatles - Released on iTunes November 2010
  • Perform This Way, Weird Al Yankovic - Released April 2011
  • Black Sheep, Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, Metric - Released August 2010
Then I tried these that did produce playlists:
  • Bad Romance, Lady GaGa - Released October 2009
  • Crossroads, 2NU, This is Ponderous - Sometime in the 90's
  • CNR, Weird Al Yankovic - August 2009
The common explanation for not producing a Genius playlist is that the song is too obscure or has not been included in other people's playlists. I don't think that's the case. I find it hard to believe that Come Together is in fewer playlists than Crossroads.

From the Apple discussion previously referenced:
I called Apple Support about it and got escalated one step up the chain.  The guy explained that genius works on a combination of local and global information, local being information from my computer, and it needs local information before it can make a playlist.  I asked him if that meant that genius could work for someone else, but not for me, on the same song, and he said yes.  He said I need to just keep playing the songs and updating genius.  Well I bought the Arcade Fire and The National shortly after release and have played them close to 40 times each, and have now even made special playlists to try to train my iTunes to know what I think goes with these songs.  I just can't believe there's not enough local or global information to make a genius playlist with these songs.  It doesn't explain why a song used to work but no longer does.  Plus the suggestion that I need local data before genius will work is not correct.  I just bought Jailbird by Primal Scream (a 1994 release) and before playing it I updated genius.  It then created a genius playlist just fine, despite it never having been played locally. 
Genius playlists are a good feature that need to be fixed.


Anonymous said...

Yes This issue is driving me kind of crazy. Did you find a solve?

Jeff said...

It appears to have eventually resolved itself.

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem - I had some old Genius mixes that I hadn't played in a while, so I deleted all the Genius mixes to start over. Updated Genius through the Store menu, several times. Majority of the songs that I previously had Genius mixes for, did not work when I tried them again.

One thing I did differently was that I had Unchecked all my selections, and on re-starting iTunes (to see if that would help with Genius) it had a pop-up stating that because all selections were unchecked, that playlists might not work, and songs might not synch to other devices.

So, that probably was what was messing with Genius, in my case. Hope that's helpful to others having the same problem.

Jason Schaeffer said...

I have close to 60000 songs on itunes and i come to realize if itunes doesnt have that album to purchase and/or songs that are a year old genius can't make a playlist. I can only make genius playlists right now if the song came out in 2010 or older.

Jason Schaeffer said...

iTunes genius only works if songs are older than 2010 and/or if they (iTunes) have in their database. They (iTunes) told me that genius goes by your personal song database so for instance like me I have over 60000 songs so I should be able to a variety of playlists, not. I update genius like 4 times a week as per them (iTunes) telling me I should do. But it still won't let me make a genius playlist with 2011 songs or newer or songs that itunes dont have in their database. So I go around that problem I rate my songs and I make a smart playlist from the ratings.

Leigh said...

I can't even believe how much Genius sucks. It's been out for so many years now, and they still can't do something as simple as make a playlist from well known artists!??

Mae Cupido said...

I have the same problem. I've been updating and updating my genius but still, it didn't work. Most of my songs are Korean and so do you think that caused my problem? And they didn't come from itunes store. I just downloaded them. I'm going crazy about this.

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