A playlist is a group of songs from your iTunes library that you've decided should go together. It can be made up of pretty much any collection of tunes arranged in any order. For example, if you're having a party, you can make a playlist out of the current Top 40 and dance music in your iTunes library. If you're in a 1960s Brit Girl Pop mood, you can whip together the hits of Dusty Springfield, Lulu, and Petula Clark. Some people may question your taste if you, say, mix tracks from La Bohème with Queen's A Night at the Opera, but hey—it's your playlist.
Creating playlists has become something of an art form, especially since the iPod arrived in 2001. Several books filled with sample playlists have been published. Academics around the world are writing papers about group dynamics and cultural identity after studying how people make playlists—and which ones they choose to share with others. You can publish your own playlists in the iTunes Store (Chapter 7) so others can witness your mixing prowess. And some nightclubs even invite people to hook up their iPods and share their playlists with the dance-floor audience.
And even if you don't have time to make your own playlists, Apple lends you an expert hand. The Genius feature lets you create one-click mixes of music that actually sounds like it's supposed to go together.
Now that you know what a playlist is and how people use them, it's time to get cracking and make one or 42 of your own.