I used to think I was going crazy when I’d listen to my music and I kept hearing the same songs over and over again. I have one playlist that I usually listen to called “All Music” and it contains all of my songs. Currently I have a small library of about 1,500 songs. When I choose the shuffle feature I expect that it would take a while to hear a song I’ve recently heard. This is not true with iTunes.
A shuffle feature is based on an algorithm programmers decide upon that chooses random songs to play. No algorithm can be entirely random so they write the algorithm to seem “random” to the user. Apple’s algorithm also introduces the number of times a song is listened to and how often a song gets skipped as to when and how often a song will get played. New music added seems to also get moved towards the top of the “random” list as well.
I don’t inherently have a problem with Apple creating a shuffle algorithm that puts your more listened to songs at the front of a shuffled playlist, but it would be nice to get some of the power back so I could choose a random shuffle that has nothing to do with how often I listen to a song entirely.
“Just get over it”… Right?
I thought the same until I started using my iPod while running. Nothing is more annoying than being in the middle of a 5 mile run and having to pull your iPod out to skip every other song because you’ve already heard those songs the last 5 times you went running. I can understand hearing the same songs over and over if you have a 100 song playlist, but over 1,500 songs in one playlist should ensure you won’t hear the same couple of songs every time you listen to your music. I swear my iPod thinks my favorite artists are Slipknot and Avril Lavigne.
At first I thought the shuffle was based on artists Apple was trying to market more until I did the research and learned how the shuffle algorithm was written. There is still that conspiracy theorist in me that thinks some artists get more play than others, but that’s a whole different blog entry.
All I ask Apple is to add an option somewhere in iTunes to choose what type of shuffle you want. I want more control of what my iPod does and less of Apple trying to do the thinking for me. It shouldn’t be too hard to add and Apple sends out so many iTunes updates that it shouldn’t take too long to get to those that want it.