Create Automatic iTunes Playlists with the Filter

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 30, 2006
Updated • May 14, 2013
Music and Video

One of the blogs that I'm regularly visiting is Connected Internet created by my friend Everton Blair. He writes mainly about the same topics that I write about (with a slight British touch) and once in a while I find a interesting story that I would like to publish on Ghacks as well. He discovered an automatic playlist generator for iTunes called The Filter.

Let me explain how this works. Once installed, you either choose to register an account or connect anonymously. I've selected the second option. The filter starts up iTunes and all you need to do is select a few songs that you like at the moment. Once you have selected a few you click on the F in the filter toolbar and the plugin seeks for additional songs that fit the selected ones.

It took only some seconds to create a playlist searching through my 700 mp3 files. If you have podcasts and videos on iTunes you should configure the filter to not include them when searching for similar files. The default amount of songs is 15 but you are free to change that amount as well as the title format and prefix of the created playlist.

The idea of the filter is really nice. I think it works best on very large mp3 collections (Everton was stating that he had 16000 files which is a lot, wonder how long it took to create a new playlist).

Update: The Filter is no longer available for iTunes, the web page the project was hosted on returns an error, and the front page displays unrelated items.

Apple in the meantime has added the Smart Playlist feature to iTunes which you can make use of to create automatic playlists based on criteria that you specify. You can for instance create a playlist with songs that have at least a four star rating, or only songs by a particular artist or genre. It is furthermore possible to mix different criteria.

To use the feature do the following:

  1. Open File > New Smart Playlist.
  2. Select Match the following rule and select rules from pop-up menus, e.g. only songs with four stars or more.
  3. You can limit the playlist to a specific duration or size and only include songs that are checked.
  4. The iTunes software can modify the playlist dynamically. If you want that, select live updating.
  5. Click ok and select a name for the playlist. It is then created under playlists in the sidebar.

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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