Music Workflows Turning it up to 11

Apple Music is a fantastic product for enjoying music. I switched over from Spotify when Apple Music launched and have loved it ever since.

Music is vital to me. As I see it, there are three things I focus on.

  1. Building a collection of great music
  2. Exploring the diverse expanse of music
  3. Staying on top of new music

I want to share some ways to get more out of your listening time. One thing that's great about Apple Music is that there are tons of apps on the App Store that can integrate with Apple Music and really improve the experience. In addition, I've built some Shortcuts and practices that you might find useful.

Seasonal Music Playlists

One of the distinctions I make is between music I'm enjoying now and music that I think deserves to be part of my collection. I used to add any song I liked to my Library. The problem was that browsing or shuffling through my Library months later, I didn't really care for them anymore and didn't think they deserved to be a part of my Music Collection.

My solution was to create seasonal playlists. Each season I create a new playlist, and for a few months I add the music I'm enjoying. It's a mix of new music and music I'm coming back to and enjoying. These playlists are kind of a record of what I'm going through.

Last winter's playlist had more rock and dark music and some from The Batman. Later if I go back I'm able to remember how I was feeling and access some of the nostalgia of that time; like The Avalanches that summer I went to New York for the first time - it's in a playlist.

Playlist Sorting

In Apple Music, the Playlists view in Library can be a bit unwieldy once you have a lot of playlists. You can sort by Recently Played, which is pretty good, but makes browsing for a specific playlist difficult since things are always moving around. What I prefer is to sort by Playlist Type. This puts Apple Music created playlists first and your playlists after that. Then within those two groups, it sorts by Name.

Using that, I name my playlists so that they show up in the order I want them to. I prefix my favorite playlists with 'AA' so they stay at the top. Then I prefix my others with 'BB' so they come next.

For my Seasonal Playlists, I name the current playlist 'A1 Spring 22' (A1 Season-Name YY)

This puts it at the top, above my other 'AA' playlists. Once a season has passed, I want it at the very bottom of my playlists. You could rename them, replacing 'A1' with 'XX', but then they won't sort correctly (by year).

To sort them by year I rename them to 'X-78' where the number is 100 - the year. So for my playlists from the year 2022, they become 100 - 22 = 78 → 'X-78'. This gets them to sort in decending order from newest to oldest. The seasons sort by name in (almost) the correct order: 22 Fall 22 Spring 22 Summer 22 Winter Summer and Spring don't sort by name correctly. To fix this, you're gonna have to use a different name for one of them. What I've decided to use is 'Heat' instead of Summer. So for me it looks like: 22 Fall 22 Heat 22 Spring 22 Winter

Each season I create a new playlist, name it ex. 'A1 Heat 22'. I keep the most recent two seasonal playlists since I sometimes want to listen to last season's music. But I move the playlist from two seasons ago to the bottom by renaming it from 'A1' to 'X-78'

Playlist Folders

From the Mac you can create Playlist Folders. You could create a 'Moods' folder and put all your playlists built around a mood into this folder. On iOS, in Playlists if you sort by Type, these folders will show up after Apple Music playlists and before your Playlists, so they get some priority over your other playlists. For that reason, I don't think I'm gonna keep using them.

Listen Later

For years, I've wanted a way to elagantly add music to a "Listen Later" location. I tried to do this myself with a simple playlist, but then you get all the songs, not the albums and you can't organize it. You also have to delete each song once you've listened to them.

Nothing worked very well, so I gave up. Then I found MusicBox, an app that does exactly what I want.

New Music Playlists

Using Miximum, Mix of music I've not listened to or skipped from a collection of Apple Music playlists. Shortcut action to count as skipped.

Need to explain about what counts as a skip and a play. And the Shortcut that skips a song and counts it as a skip.

Shortcuts

Using shortcuts to count as skipped, count as played, start playing, add to seasonal playlist

Apple Watch

Using shortcuts to manage some of the music workflows Music app, now playing

Other Apple Music Apps

Longplay - for enjoying albums and your collection, more viscerally PlayTally - gives you some data on your play counts Music Harbor - track new releases from your favorite Artists

Soor - alternative AM client, more advanced features Sathorn - playlist sorting Cs: Music Player - alt AM client, some playlist features

Thanks for Reading!

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