Intelligent browsing in foobar

Col­lect­ing my thoughts here…

foobarSo, iron­i­cal­ly, music is becom­ing increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult for me to lis­ten to. As though wor­ry­ing about an exten­sive gaunt­let of tag­ging pro­ce­dures isn’t enough, I just have too much damn music. Brows­ing alpha­bet­i­cal­ly through upwards of 500 artists is not the best way to go look­ing for some­thing when you have no idea what you want to hear.

I’ve audi­tioned var­i­ous meth­ods of tweak­ing foo­bar to ‘deliv­er’ music to me more or less auto­mat­i­cal­ly, and I’m close to hav­ing some­thing ide­al. The playlist tree com­po­nent allows for dynam­ic tree struc­tures (which, unfor­tu­nate­ly, can only be rebuilt man­u­al­ly or every time a new song begins); using the title­for­mat­ting lan­guage, I’ve gen­er­at­ed five queries whose pur­pose it is to ‘coax’ cer­tain albums to stark­er vis­i­bil­i­ty from the fea­ture­less and indif­fer­ent music library, to greater or less­er suc­cess.

  • Ran­dom 10: Maybe my favorite query. This choos­es ten albums at ran­dom and, in a clever twist of which I’m pret­ty proud, appends a short descrip­tion of the album to the end of the title in the tree, using one adjec­tivial ‘tone’ tag and one nounal ‘style’ tag as tak­en from all­mu­sic (the hard work pays off!), e.g., “Sprawl­ing Post-Rock­/­Ex­per­i­men­tal” for Mog­wai’s Ten Rapid. This last bit is help­ful as I don’t even rec­og­nize much of the stuff in my library.
  • Nev­er Heard: A giv­en. This choos­es ten ran­dom albums on the con­di­tion that they con­tain at least one song that has­n’t been played. Unfor­tu­nate­ly there’s no way to fil­ter for albums that have, say, at least half of their tracks unplayed, or even a fixed num­ber of unplayed tracks for that mat­ter, so the title of this query is a bit mis­lead­ing. And, because I’m even more like­ly not to be famil­iar with these, descrip­tor phras­es are also includ­ed in the dis­play of this tree (and in none of the remain­ing trees).
  • Recent­ly Added: Fif­teen albums cho­sen for hav­ing a track that has recent­ly been played for the first time. Again, some­what mis­lead­ing, since very old albums that hap­pen to have a recent­ly debuted song will appear on this list, when I’d real­ly like to restrict it to recent­ly added albums. If only foo­bar could keep track of when stuff is added to the library. Help­ful for remind­ing me of new stuff I’ve acquired.
  • Recent­ly Lis­tened: Like ‘Recent­ly Added,’ but nar­rowed to albums whose last play is at least a month from their first play (or, more specif­i­cal­ly, whose last play was not in the same month as their first play). This, ide­al­ly, will dis­play old(ish) albums that I’ve found myself lis­ten­ing to late­ly. And, like ‘Recent­ly Added,’ use­ful in its results — if I chose to hear it recent­ly, I’m like­ly to want to hear it again.
  • Incom­ing: A live reflec­tion of the con­tents of my incom­ing fold­er. This would be great ’cause then I would­n’t have to remem­ber to open Win­dows explor­er and drag new stuff into foo­bar to add it to the library, it would all just flow in seam­less­ly, even the .zips I down­load (since foo­bar can read archives). Unfor­tu­nate­ly Playlist Tree is still in beta and this fea­ture seems to be bro­ken at the moment. Once it’s resolved, though, the cir­cle will be closed and every­thing will be per­fect and the skies will open up and we will know the face of God.

My only remain­ing frus­tra­tion is that play­count data basi­cal­ly has to be writ­ten to the files, some­thing that cannot be worked around by write-pro­tect­ing the files as I had pre­vi­ous­ly been led to believe. My antic­i­pat­ed work-around will involve get­ting uTor­rent to copy all down­loads into anoth­er direc­to­ry, one that it’s okay for foo­bar to mess around with, keep­ing seed­ed tor­rents in some quar­an­tined direc­to­ry that I nev­er real­ly touch.