Random Mixtape Maker: a “smart”, powerful playlist creator


Random Mixtape Maker is a free program that can create “intelligent” playlists based on user-defined guidelines.

For example you can tell Random Mixtape Maker to look for music inside certain folders but to avoid a certain subset of folders and certain songs you specify; to create a playlist that plays for x minutes; to limit each artist to 3 songs max; to include the tracks in your “must have” list, and to always follow some tracks with others, and so on.

So you’ve accumulated 100 gigs+ of MP3’s, which you’ve spent hours and hours fixing and tagging, normalizing, categorizing into genres, and downloading album art for.

Perhaps you can now see the light at the end of the tunnel; that maybe some day soon this project might actually be completed. But for now tell me this: with all those gigabytes of music why are you listening to the same two dozen tracks over and over?

Of course there is nothing especially remarkable about those two playlists. Rather, it is the wading through the daunting sea of MP3s that is overwhelming. How to decide what to listen to when there are so many options? One is to not choose at all and simply use the “random shuffle” option in your media player. The only problem here is that you would rather not mix your Rock with your Jazz and Audiobooks and your Christmas music. What you need is an intelligent playlist creator that generates playlists based on a handful or rules, and Random Mixtape Maker is one of the best “smart” playlist creators that you’re likely to come across. More notes on this program below:

  • User Interface: is tab-based and intuitive, no learning curve to speak of. You will figure it out within minutes.Right-clicking on the list of results will bring up more functions that you can use to refine and manipulate them further.
  • The playlist: you can specify the desired time duration or the max total size in megs of the files on the list (in case you wanted to burn to CD). You can also specify minimum and maximum allowed song durations.
  • Blacklist: add files and folders to your blacklist to exclude them from consideration. Very handy, especially if your music library is organized using a folder structure.
  • Must-have and linked songs lists: if you have some songs that you simply must have in your playlist you can add these to the “must have” lists. Also allows you to set up “linked songs” whereby if song A happens to be selected to the playlist the program will set it’s linked song to play straight after.
  • Keywords: you can tell Random Mixtape Maker to consider certain keywords in the metadata or, if the lyrics if your audio files contain these. You can also set it to use keywords exclusively when making selections. I will report that this function did not seem to work for me (see “wish list” section below).
  • Other options: you can check the file formats you want included from a list (e.g. MP3, FLAC, OGG, etc). You can also set a ceilings for the number of songs allowed from each artist
  • Randomize: you can load and randomize playlists on demand.
  • Output: creates m3u playlists or can export the song list or path(s) to a text file.
  • Portable: unzip and run.

Wish list (or how this software can be even better)

  • Better “Genre” filtering: strangely, I was not able to blacklist a genre/genres, which I would have thought to be a very obvious function (e.g. exclude the “spoken word” genre from the playlist whenever you encounter it). And although it allows you to set up to 5 genres to mix-and-match, it does not seem that you can restrict the playlist to these genres. Lastly, genres are selected through drop-downs with generic, pre-determined selections; it would be better if the program did a scan first, determined the genres available in your selected folders, and used those to populate the list of possible genres.
  • Keywords: did not seem to work properly. Not sure if it is looking for keywords in the comments section or if it reads the ID3 Tag fields. In my test requiring a term (e.g. “love”) produced no results, even when many song and artist titles had that term within them.
  • Scans all your defined folders, even blacklisted ones; even when it will not use those in your playlists. I noticed this after blacklisting a large folder recursively that the program seemed to go on and scan anyway.

The verdict: this program is excellent. It will allow you to create coherent playlists that simply make sense (and that may allow you to experience your music library in a whole new light). Will also allow you to create playlists that that would fit CDs or other types of media. Overall an excellent tool to have. If you hadn’t thought about using this sort of “smart” playlist maker before give it a try; you will be happily surprised with the results.

[Note: found this on the wonderful Donationcoder]

Version Tested:

Compatibility: WinAll.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 450K).