Playing single tracks

Q: I am a professional entertainer and am using a 60G Photo iPod with only music loaded as backing tracks in a live situation and require it to stop after every song. I have read other forum ideas on this situation and as most answers are up to 2 years old, has anyone solved this problem recently? I feel there must be some way of doing this without physically having the hassle of pausing after it every song.  Can you help?

– Darryl

A: With the newer iPods, there is a workaround that can be used to facilitate this:  Simply enable “Skip when Shuffling” for any tracks that you put in that particular playlist, and then run the iPod with the Shuffle setting enabled (set to either “Albums” or “Songs”).  As of the v1.2 firmware for the fifth-generation iPod and the second-generation iPod nano, the “Skip When Shuffling” setting now prevents tracks from being played automatically when shuffle is enabled on the iPod, so if all of the tracks in your playlist have the “Skip when Shuffling” setting enabled, selecting any individual track will simply play that track only, and then stop.

Unfortunately, as you’re using an older-model fourth-generation iPod, this feature has not been updated, and tracks marked as “Skip when Shuffling” will still play through regardless of the setting on the iPod. Older-generation iPods only used the “Skip when Shuffling” setting for the main-menu “Shuffle Songs” feature, which plays all the tracks stored on your iPod, skipping those that have “Skip when Shuffling” enabled.

If you’re not planning to upgrade your iPod to a newer model, there are a couple of other solutions that might work, however.  The key thing is to remember that any model of iPod will only play the tracks selected in the current playlist or from the current album/artist/genre selection before stopping.  One obvious solution would therefore be to create a separate playlist for each individual track, and then select the appropriate playlist for the appropriate track that you wish to play.  The iPod will play that one track and then stop.  Similarly, if an artist or album only has a single track listed, selecting that particular track through the Artists or Albums menus will also queue up only that one track.  You could therefore either use separate playlists, or change the tags within the tracks themselves so that each track has a distinct album entry.

Another option would be to use the On-The-Go playlist feature.  Individual tracks can be added to the On-The-Go playlist, and then you can play back that particular playlist with only a single track in it.  The iPod will play that track and then stop.  You could then clear that track out of the OTG playlist and add another one, repeating the process.  Unfortunately, this can be a very cumbersome process if you’re frequently switching between tracks.