On My Wish List: Nested Folders in iTunes

iTunes is an awesome program. As anyone who uses it regularly knows, it gives you a great deal of power and flexibility to organize your music, and, especially, to organize what you put on your iPod. But when you start putting a lot of music on your Mac (or PC) with iTunes, you run into a problem: you end up with so many playlists that you have to scroll up and down looking for the one you want. And this is even more complicated on the iPod, since you can only see a few at a time.

The solution is pretty simple: iTunes needs nested folders.Ideally, you should be able to create folders to put your playlists in. Think of list view in the OS X Finder: you can have a folder, and, when you click the disclosure triangle, you can see its contents. iTunes needs the same thing. With nested folders you could create as many folders as you want, and reduce the number of playlists you see at the top level.

You could create folders with the names of specific artists, genres, types of playlists (party, chill-out, etc.), music you’re tired of, or whatever you want. You could then group your playlists in whatever way fits your style. Ideally, you’d even want to create aliases for playlists, so you can put some playlists in multiple folders. (The same way you can put songs in multiple playlists.)

Here’s an example of why I’d like to see this. I’m an eclectic listener, and my iTunes library contains rock, jazz, classical music, Grateful Dead concerts and more. I’ve got a lot of live recordings, such as two box sets of Bill Evans concerts that I have grouped into playlists according to the setlists of the original concerts (the songs cover more than one CD for each one). That gives me 14 Bill Evans playlists. I’d find it much easier to have a Bill Evans folder, then have the playlists appear when I click the disclosure triangle. Same for the Grateful Dead – I’ve lots of their live shows, and I don’t need to see one line in my iTunes list for each one.

Naturally, if this were implemented for iTunes it would have to be done for the iPod as well. And it would be just as useful on the iPod – with its limited display – as it is in iTunes.

Will we see this feature soon? I’m sure someone at Apple has already thought of it. If not, I hope they visit this site.


Read more articles in this category: iPod & iTunes

4 thoughts on “On My Wish List: Nested Folders in iTunes

  1. Yep, it’s the same fight… But I think Apple will eventually add them, and when
    the do, both programs will benefit.

    The only thing is how the iPod will manage nested folders… It might just
    ignore them, which would be logical.

  2. I have a smart playlist for Miles Davis – selecting that playlist displays all
    Davis albums on the top right Album pane with Browse mode selected. If you
    wanted to reduce artist listings in the Source pane just create a smart playlist
    for ‘Artist begins with A, B, C, etc.’ Other playlists are techno, jungle, Electric
    Jazz and so on – it’s the Browse mode which lets you see everything.

    • Yes, that works well in browse mode, but only (usually) for entire albums as
      opposed to individual playlists.

      Say you’ve got a bunch of Rolling Stones tunes – you might want several
      playlists: acoustic songs, electric songs, slow songs, songs where Keith sings
      (that’s a short one). That’s where nested playlist folders would come in handy.

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