When Apple first came out with Genius for iTunes, I didn't bother downloading it. I wasn't updating my iTunes ever, as it was generally a pain in the ass and I didn't want most of what they were offering. However, with the new computer, I downloaded the newest version of iTunes (dammit), so I kind of had to have it. The Prison Librarian seemed to like it, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
I am not impressed.
It works kind of like Pandora -- you pick a song and it builds a playlist around that song. Unlike Pandora, however, you can't really tweak it. Or if you can, I haven't figured out how to do that. All I've done is delete songs and refresh, which puts shit back on that I'd deleted. Um, NO. With Pandora, you can rate songs or suggest songs or tell them not to play this certain song for a while or just flat-out say, "Hell 2 da naw!" to a song. And I did that a lot with Pandora. I also had to say "don't play this song for a month" very often. I mean, you have this enormous music database and I'm hearing songs twice in an eight-hour period and several times over the course of a week? FAIL.
Genius seems to play only songs in the same genre. I tried Elbow's "The Bones of You," and the resulting playlist is 80 percent Brit pop. Oh, and Kings of Leon, who are fucking huge in the UK. Start one with a little "Rehab" from Amy Winehouse? Nothing but R&B.
There seem to be plenty of songs they don't have in their database. Nothing comes up with Brendan Canning's "Hit the Wall." Same with Tilly & the Wall's "Blood Flowers." And I've updated a couple of times. I can get Gomez's "How We Operate" to generate a playlist, but if I choose "Meet Me in the City?" No fucking dice, sister.
It works okay for something like Broken Social Scene, what with their Stars, Apostle of Hustle, Feist, Amy Millan, Emily Haines and other connections. Well, it would work great if Brendan Canning came up. I mean, the album title says, "Broken Social Scene Presents ..." for fuck's sake. And I like a lot of Canadian bands, so I guess it's good that Arcade Fire and The Stills make it onto the Broken Social Scene playlist.
I suppose it's fine if you're totally lazy, but I don't want one single genre or all similar artists in a playlist. I am almost always looking for a very odd mix when I make a playlist. And I know what I'm doing. People tend to like my mixes. Macho Man is insanely jealous of my playlist-making abilities. So fuck off, Apple. You don't know me!