Creating Smart Playlists for Purchased items

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Q: Is it possible to edit the ‘Purchased’ playlist that comes already set up in iTunes? It must be a Smart Playlist set up for a certain amount of songs or for a preset amount of time. I’d like it to include all the songs I’ve ever purchased. If that isn’t possible, how do I make a list that does?

– Kendra

A: The Purchased playlist that comes pre-defined in iTunes is basically just a standard playlist with a special position in the source list. Tracks you purchase are added to this playlist automatically, of course, but it otherwise behaves just like any other standard playlist, meaning you can sort it, re-arrange the tracks in it manually, and even add and remove tracks. If you delete the Purchased playlist, iTunes will simply re-create it the next time it’s needed (ie, the next time you purchase something from the iTunes Store).

You cannot change the behaviour of the default Purchased playlist, but you can easily create your own Smart Playlist to track your purchased music. This can be particularly helpful if you’ve ever deleted your Purchased playlist or removed tracks from it.

The key to creating a Smart Playlist to track your purchased music is that all music purchased from the iTunes Store has a “Kind” of either “Protected AAC Audio File” (standard iTunes Store tracks) or “Purchased AAC Audio File” (iTunes Plus tracks), so you can create a simple smart playlist that searches on either of these criteria:

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If you want to include ALL purchases in your Smart Playlist, including video files, you can refine the Smart Playlist slightly to only look for the word “Purchased” or “Protected” at the beginning of the “Kind” field:

 

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You can also build a Smart Playlist that contains only your purchased video content. Videos will be listed with a “Kind” of “Protected MPEG-4 Video File” so you only need to search on this criteria and you can add additional restrictions for different kinds of video, so if you wanted to create a Smart Playlist that shows only your purchased movies, for example:

 

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Note that with Music Videos there is one additional exception to be aware of: iTunes Plus Music Videos do not contain any reference to “Purchased” or “Protected” in their “Kind” field, so the above Smart Playlists will not include these music videos. Since iTunes Plus music videos have an audio bit-rate of 256kbps, the following Smart Playlist may help to identify these tracks, but only if you have not created any of your own music videos with a 256kbps audio track:

 

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