Browsing albums by Genre

Q: I seem to be at odds with a major flaw in the way iTunes and the iPod organize music. I’m trying to browse my music by certain genres, but I’m disappointed that the smart playlists I’m creating are only allowing me to list the songs they contain as songs, as opposed to grouping them by albums. What am I missing?

– Frank

A: Both iTunes and the iPod have features that will help you achieve exactly what you want—more hierarchy in the display of genre listings. Neither method, however, uses smart playlists, as playlists – by definition – are always track listings only one level deep.

In iTunes, begin by using the “Browse” button in the top-right corner of your iTunes Library window. If you’ve enabled “Show genre when browsing” in iTunes’ Preferences, then you’ll be presented with the following at the top of your library:

Browsing albums by Genre

This allows you to narrow your selection by genre and proceed to narrow it further by artist and/or album titles. All three columns can be navigated using the up and down arrow keys on the keyboard, and you can switch between them with Tab and Shift-Tab.

On the iPod, there’s a similar genre-level feature already built in. Simply navigate to your iPod’s “Music” menu item, and “Genre” should already be present on the main display. Browse this option, and you’ll then be able to choose the next levels of the hierarchy: artist, then album.

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