iTunes Tip: Create Smart Playlists by Decade

iTunes offers a lot of options for smart playlists. You can choose to make a playlist by genre, artist, rating, recently played, time and much more. But one type of smart playlist that isn’t obvious is one you can make by decade. If you like to organize your music by what was hot in the 1960s, 70s, 80s or 90s, it’s easy to do.

Create a new smart playlist. To do this, choose File > New > Smart Playlist, or click Playlists in the iTunes header bar when you’re in your Music library, then click the + button at the bottom-left of the iTunes window, and choose New Smart Playlist.

Next, choose the following conditions: Year   is in the range, then enter two years in the subsequent fields.


In the example above, I’ve created a smart playlist for the 60s, and set the smart playlist to be 1960 to 1969; you can choose any years you want. For example, if you think that, musically, the 60s ran from, say, 1959 to 1972, you can use those years.

You can then set other conditions: perhaps choose songs rated above a certain number of stars, or songs you haven’t listened to recently. Click OK to save the smart playlist.

It goes without saying that you need to tag your music for the correct years. Any music that doesn’t have a year in its tags won’t show up in this smart playlist. To add a year to a song or album, select a song, or a group of tracks, then press Command-I. Click the Info tab, then enter a year in the Year field, as below. Click OK to save the year.


If you need to find out what years your music was released, the best place to go is probably Wikipedia; there are entries for most popular albums. If you’ve purchased music from the iTunes Store, it will generally have years in its tags, but the years are most likely the year the album was released, which may be later than the original release date, in the case of a remastered album. So check carefully to make sure you’re not missing any year tags if you want to use these smart playlists.