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Find lost music

Lifehacker’s Adam Pash posted a short piece yesterday on creating a “Best of 2007″ playlist in iTunes. He suggests setting up a smart playlist that finds all music added in 2007 with a play count of 25 or more. It’s a nice idea, but as I thought about it, it occurred to me that I already know my most-played songs from last year, and what’s more, I’m pretty tired of them. I’ve moved on.

A more interesting idea (to me, anyway) is putting together a list of least-played music of 2007. If you’re a compulsive music collector like me, or suffer from an advanced case of M.A.D.D. (music attention deficit disorder) there are probably a lot of tracks in iTunes that you never got around to listening to. Did you buy that Led Zeppelin box set last year? In my case, for example, I downloaded Feist’s last album from Amazon on the strength of the iPod nano commercial. It’s a great album, and I’ve listened to the first 5 or 6 songs several times, but I never quite made it through to the end (M.A.D.D strikes again). I also ripped a handful of old CD’s to iTunes last year (the never-ending project) but never ended up playing them.

There’s probably a lot of great music hidden away in your “lost” tracks, and it’s easy to find. Just set up a smart playlist of all music added in 2007 with a play count of 0. If you religiously listen to every new song at least once, you may need adjust the play count to 1, just to flesh out your playlist a bit. I also add rules to exclude unplayed Podcasts and videos, because it turns out I have a lot of those, too.

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The zero-play-count playlist has been a staple of my music listening habits for years. It’s an essential component of my iPhone music set-up, which I plan to write about soon.

When you’re itching for some new music, don’t forget about all of the lost gems already lurking in your iTunes library. One of your “lost” tracks from 2007 may wind up being one of your favorite songs in 2008.

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