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How to Leverage Tags With YouTube Videos and Playlists

A number of years ago, my family joined a site that claimed it would allow us to have unlimited legal downloads of music for a lifetime of playlists. A couple months later our computer crashed, so we got to go through the joy of re-creating that playlist and waiting for the downloads to be available. Some never were. But eventually we got most of the files back and continued to download more music. Suddenly, the service disappeared. Did we get swindled? Probably. But we learned that we didn’t want to use such services again for other reasons, as well; it seems next to impossible to take your music with you when you upgrade machines. We obviously weren’t the only people looking for music online since the internet music storage/playlist was born soon after.

Certainly most of us have been to YouTube before, opening the “panda gets scared” clip that was a viral email for a while or going to see the speech some politico made that everyone was so upset about. But what our youngest son (isn’t that always the way it is) pointed out was that they had lots of music videos. Some of them had been there for a very long time since they didn’t violate copyright. And YouTube also had set up a favorites list from which one could build a playlist.

The setup is very easy. Sign up for a YouTube account. This will not result in unwanted emails. When you are ready to make your playlist, sign in and search for the name of the song and/or band you are looking for. At least one video will probably pop up (although there was no “Shadowdancing” from Andy Gibb and very little from Three Dog Night). However it is possible that nothing may show up at all. In this case, the problem usually comes from the creator not correctly tagging their videos. This allows relevant videos to not show up in the search results. Some content creators use a youtube keyword generator so they don’t have to think of the tags themselves. The clips are primarily from the 80s forward, the video age, and many more from the last five years than any other, but there are a lot of videos available. Once the video starts, make sure it is the copy you want. There is likely to be an “official” video, several that show lyrics, and perhaps some live versions. There may also be people doing their own versions of the songs on real instruments or even on Rock Band, so look carefully. It is a good idea to avoid any marked “official” or that look like a “real” professionally-made video. These are often copyright violations or are otherwise there for just a short time and will soon be removed. Then you will have to find another clip. You might also want to avoid those that say “vevo.” These are typically well-made videos, but they take a long time to buffer and so tend to play with a lot of hitches, especially if your internet connection isn’t that great. There is little or no difference in the sound, just the video.

When you find what you want, click on “favorites” below the video. Then, at the very top right-hand side of your screen there should be a drop-down menu that has your name. When you open it, it says “favorites” and also “playlist.” Go to the favorites list, and you will see the videos you have chosen. A button says “add to” that lets you add certain videos to certain lists. You might have one list that is your personal favorites and another to run when your parents are there and so on.

When you open the playlist, you can then tell it to randomize by checking a box as the playlist runs.

So YouTube has ended up being our music savior, allowing us to do everything we wanted with the songs we like best. We can even watch the words or some other video attached to the song. For instance, one of my favorites plays “Shambala” by Three Dog Night while showing clips from “Supernatural.” What a great combination.

And we shouldn’t have to deal with transferring or downloading hassles again to have music on our computers. Thanks to YouTube.

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