1087 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Sep 15, 2008 8:55 PM by David Aiken
From my brief play with the genius feature in iTunes, it seems it makes selections based on correlations based on data from different iTunes libraries. The iTunes store develops a "feel" for what people like by comparing the artists in the libraries it gathers data from. If it finds that, say, 96% of libraries with tracks by artist A also have tracks from artist B, it will suggest tracks from B in a genius playlist you seed with a track from A.
That works well on your iTunes library if you've got a lot of of songs. If you're only syncing a few GB of music to your iPhone from your total iTunes library, it has less artists to choose from, and also fewer tracks to choose from. I suspect that Genius on the iPhone requires a minimum number of matching artists and tracks before it will start to generate a playlist.
If you've got a lot of popular artists/tracks on your phone there should be enough material there for it to work with. If you're like me with only 77 songs taking up 2.5 GB in lossless compression and most of that from artists who aren't from the popular side of things, Genius simply doesn't get enough material to match against its database and recommend a list so I get the same message, or even the one that says it can't do anything at all with the artist whose track I selected as a starting point.
Things may improve when iTunes as more data from more people using Genius but the less popular the artists in your library are and/or the fewer songs you have on your phone, the less likely Genius will be to work for you. That's the problem with a system that basically relies on a sampling strategy: it needs a good sample if it's going to work. In this case a good sample is a collection of songs that is above a certain size and contains a popular selection of artists. I have no idea how many songs are required or what constitutes a suitable selection of artists but your chances for getting Genius to work will certainly increase as the size of your library increases and also the closer your artist selection is to the list of most popular artists in iTunes Genius info database.
Genius may be a reasonable idea but it definitely has some minimum requirements which you have to meet before it will do its stuff.