Monday, January 30, 2012

v5.3: More Release Dates

So far SmartPlaylist could only support Release Dates after 2001, because Apple's programming framework only provided NULL/nil/nada/nothing for older dates (there was no life before the iPod, was there?). Now I have found a second way to also extract older Release Dates.
As this takes a bit of time, searching or sorting by Release Date is a bit slow at first. SmartPlaylist puts the extracted values in a cash to speed up sorting and searching the next time. This cache is emptied with "Empty cache after sync" (see other posts).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Support for iTunes Match in SmartPlaylist

Personally I cannot understand how you can entrust your dear music collection into the hands of Apple or Google, or anybody else. I want to do my own backups, my own syncs, I want to be master of my music.

Anyhow, there are SmartPlaylist customers who use iTunes Match. To help them a bit, two features will be in v5.3:

  1. Songs up somewhere in the clouds, i.e. not (yet) stored on the device, will be shown in the list in grey instead of in white (see screenshot below)
  2. Downloading a song to the device for listening will no longer trigger the message "MPMediaLibrary Notification" (see other posts)

In the above example title #25 and #28 are greyed, because they are DRM-protected. Titles in the cloud will (should) also be displayed like that.

Please report your experience with iTunes Match and SmartPlaylist to support.smartplaylist@gmail.com.

UPDATE: At the moment (v5.9) the features described above no longer work. With iOS 6 it will be possible to filter songs that are in the cloud or those which are not (stored on the device). I will add this filter as a search rule in an upcoming version of SmartPlaylist.

New in v5.3: Search, read, copy lyrics!

As already announced, with SmartPlaylist v5.3 you can also search in the lyrics stored inside your mp3-titles:


Extracting the lyrics takes a while, that's why this search rule is rather slow and that'y why SmartPlaylist puts the lyrics in a cache to make the search faster the next time (and that's why you have to use "Empty cache after sync" once you change the lyrics in iTunes).

You can also read the lyrics in the detail infos for a song, where you can copy some text as usual, or look up the meaning of a word:


Prerequisites:
  1. Store the lyrics inside your mp3s in iTunes or with other tools. (SmartPlaylist does not search for lyrics in the web)
  2. Get the lyrics to your iPod / iPhone / iPad by syncing to your device. Currently this does not work for songs downloaded from iTunes directly to your device (see other posts)

New in v5.3: Empty cache after sync

So far SmartPlaylist automatically switched to the rules page and emptied the cache whenever the MediaLibrary was changed by a sync. With iTunes Match this is rather annoying, because each time a song is downloaded from the cloud to listen to it on the device, this happened.
So now, with v5.3 nothing will happen in SmartPlaylist when the MediaLibrary changes (for whatever reason). As long as you add new titles, everything is OK, you don't need to do anything in SmartPlaylist. But once you change some attributes (like lyrics, genre, composer, cover artwork, etc.) you need run "Empty cache after sync" to make sure that the new values are used in SmartPlaylist.


The reason behind this is that SmartPlaylist stores certain values, which take time to get, in a cache, in order to speed up search and display. This happens with the hierarchical browser (Genre>Composer>Groupings>Artists>Albums>Titles), the cover artwork (for the list view only), the lyrics and the realeaseDate.

So whenever you think that SmartPlaylist does not take the latest values, it is time to "Empty cache after sync". On older devices with iOS 4, where apps don't run in the background and have to be restarted each time, this is not necessary, since like that SmartPlalyist is always started with an empty cache.

If you still don't see what you expect, then probably there is a problem with syncing/iCloud/iTunes Match.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

General problems with lyrics, syncing and iTunes (Match)

UPDATE (iOS 8 / iTunes 12):
Today I purchased some songs on the iPhone and later added the lyrics in iTunes - but the lyrics did not show up on the iPhone after syncing back to it -- this is the known problem.
But then I simply deleted the songs on the iPhone and then synced again from iTunes - after the second sync the lyrics were on the iPhone. Maybe this is the way to solve this problem.
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With iCloud, iTunes Match and downloads directly to the iPhone it really get's complicated. You are no longer master of your own songs. When you add lyrics in iTunes on the mac and sync back to the iPhone, the lyrics don't show up! In other cases the old lyrics before the change show up!?

It is a problem with iOS 5. All this iCloud and Match stuff is even confusing Apple, it seems.

Deleting the song on the iPhone and then sync it back from the computer does not help.
What you have to do:

  1. Copy the song from iTunes to your desktop (or any other folder) -- the lyrics are contained within this file
  2. Delete the song in iTunes (with "move to trash")
  3. Delete the song on the device (in the built-in music app, with a swipe gesture)
  4. Sync from computer to device by cable
  5. Add the song back to iTunes
  6. Sync again

--- Now the song will display the lyrics both in the music app and in SmartPlaylist (in SmartPlaylist you must empty the cache with the new ⌘-command "Empty cache after sync" or do a complete restart)

Like that you will loose the Rating, Play Count and Skip Count and get a new Date Added. It is a pain.

Maybe it's better to download songs from Amazon, after all. Then you don't have those troubles.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Search in lyrics, read lyrics

Finally. I have found a way to search for songs by looking for search patterns in their lyrics!
Examples:
Lyrics contain "slavery AND cruel"
Lyrics like "* neighb*r *"

As usual, you can combine this with any other rule in SmartPlaylist.
And as usual, you can copy from the lyrics to paste into mails, messages or notes.


This works only for songs actually stored on the device (it doesn't work for songs in the cloud of iTunes Match). For certain protected songs (DRM) it might also not work.
The lyrics must be stored inside the song (you can do that in iTunes) --- SmartPlaylist will not look up lyrics for you in the internet.

Friday, January 13, 2012

iTunes Match


SmartPlaylist relies completely on the MediaLibrary present on the device and has not been adapted to iTunes Match, if this is possible at all. Other developers are also struggling with this.

Accessing a song up in the cloud (iTunes Match) seems to change something in the MediaLibrary. Unfortunately I cannot distinguish between these Match-changes and real library changes after synching. Maybe I just have to ignore changes and people have to restart SmartPlaylist after synching, like before. Alas, Apple does not make it easy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Experiment: Price drop January/February

As an experiment I dropped the price of SmartPlaylist to just 1$ to see how this affects sales. I will review the price at the end of February.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Search and sort by Year

In v5.2 of SmartPlaylist you will be able to search and sort by Year.
As this function is not provided by Apple, but is only possible with an "nonofficial" workaround, this feature might be rejected by Apple. We will see.