Do playlists slow down iTunes?

I apologize for two question posts in a row, but it’s a slow news week in Southern Gospel so far. (But I can’t say that without anticipating it somehow becoming a self-defeating prophecy.) Jeff Foster does have a good post up on NQC Conduct, [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed] but there’s little to discuss in the way of news right now.

So let’s discuss a music-related question I’ve been puzzling over. I have quite a few “smart playlists” in iTunes. One day I might be inclined to listen to songs I’ve rated 5 stars, another day songs released in 2009, and another day songs penned by Dianne Wilkinson.

These smart playlists are constantly automatically refreshing. Do any iTunes geeks read this blog? If so, do you know if these slow the program down any significant amount?


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  1. I don’t know if they slow them down or not but don’t use them that much.

  2. I don’t know either, but I use them a lot. In what way would they slow it down? In loading it? In switching between views?

    In my experience, whenever the status of a song changes – when you play it, rate it, change songwriter info, etc. – it moves into or out of the appropriate playlists. The only thing I can think of that would require the program’s self-monitoring would be my “Not Recently Played” list. However, not being a geek, I couldn’t state whether that would slow it down or not. For instance, it could just automatically update a playlist when you click on it.

    (Short answer: I don’t know either. 😆 ) They sure let me get a lot more good out of my music than they did before I started using iTunes. I never get bored with my collection any more.

  3. I use the smart playlists all the time. I love it. They do not seem to slow things down for me. But I am not certain.

  4. Thanks, everyone!

    Stated in a more technical way: I’m just kind of curious if the macros that are constantly running in the background to check songs to see if there have been any changes to the metadata impact how fast the system boots up, shuts down, or executes other commands such as adding a file to the library.

  5. You shouldn’t have any performance issues with smart playlists. They scan the library files, not the individual music files for data. I have almost one hundred smart playlists and there is no performance difference on my pc with them or if I delete them all.

    If you’ll backup your library files so you have something to restore from, you can delete all of your smart playlists to see if there is any increase in performance on your computer.

    • Thanks! That’s exactly what I wanted to know.