I’ve never been a fan of iTunes’ Genius mixes. They’re opaque, limited, and you can’t create your own. Genius Mixes are “perpetual playlists” that iTunes creates when you turn on Genius (Store > Turn On Genius). iTunes makes up to 12 such playlists, and puts them in the Playlists list, or in the sidebar, if that’s visible.
What I don’t like about Genius Mixes is that you can’t see what music they contain. Unlike Genius playlists, which you can edit manually, Genius Mixes are the lazy way of setting up genre-based random playlists. (And, yes, I do miss iTunes DJ.)
But, you can see what’s coming up in a Genius Mix in iTunes 11. You can also remove tracks from the mix, or change the order of upcoming tracks. All you need to do is us Up Next.
To the right is a Genius Mix on my Mac. If I hover my cursor over the album art, I see controls, and I get an idea of which artists the mix will contain. But I can’t see any more information about the mix. However, if I use Up Next, and check its queue, I can see what’s coming up in the future.
If you want to delete any tracks from the Genius Mix (this time around; I don’t think this applies permanently), just hover your cursor over a track, then click the X button to the left of its artwork. If you want to re-order tracks, just click on one and drag it to a new location in the list.
In the screenshot above, I’m doing this from the iTunes MiniPlayer, but you can also see this by clicking the Up Next icon in the iTunes LCD. This displays a drop-down list similar to the one that the MiniPlayer shows.
I’m still not convinced by Genius Mixes, because there are no parameters; I can’t choose, say, songs with specific ratings, or exclude certain artists, or even choose which Genius Mixes I want. iTunes creates them based on the content of your library.
But this does make them a bit more usable.