How to replicate album shuffling in Cs 5

As has been described at length in previous posts, Cs 5 introduced changes to the feature set. One of the key changes for a lot of users was the removal of Album- and Grouping-centric shuffling options. Fortunately, with a little library prep and an extra tap or two this functionality can be reproduced in Cs 5. The trick is to use Playlist Collections and the new Randomize Playlist feature. Here’s how:

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Previously, long-pressing shuffle controls would call a menu with Shuffle By Songs, Shuffle By Albums and Shuffle by Groupings options. In Cs 5 this menu has been removed. Shuffling (as opposed to randomizing) in Cs 5 uses the API-safe shuffle algorithm and is identical to shuffling in the stock app.

Playlist track views in Cs 5 now include a second icon next to the sort options. This is the Randomize Playlist option, and it prompts a familiar menu. Using this feature will randomize the sort of a given playlist using the exact same logic as shuffling in Cs 4. The difference is that Randomize Playlist only affects the displayed order of the playlist, not the payback queue. (NOTE: randomized orders are not preserved. Navigating out and back in will re-sort tracks based on playlist sort preferences.)

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But what if you wanted to shuffle the albums within a specific artist discography instead of a playlist? This can be done with a simple Smart Playlist and Playlist Collections. First, create a Smart Playlist in iTunes to capture your music content. This playlist will dynamically update and always contain all the music in your library. Sync this playlist to your device (Cs will automatically filter it’s contents based on your “Show iCloud Content” preference).

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Now you have a playlist “mirror” of your library, and you can use Playlist Collections to group it’s contents. For our example, we want to group by Artist. Navigate into the group and you’ll find all tracks by that artist. Now we can use Randomize Playlist and – ta-daa – all tracks by a given artist sorted into random albums. ☺️

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I hope this helps. Happy listening!