iTunes "Smart" Playlist References Don't Work With iCloud Music Library

For a long time I made extensive use of the iTunes Smart Playlist feature to string together groups of independent playlists into a single master or upstream playlist. It was pretty easy, since iTunes has allowed for the "Playlist is [insert name here]" condition for as long as I can remember.

I clearly haven't made a new one in some time (at least since signing up for iCloud Music Library), but it looks like this ability totally breaks when you use iCloud Music Library. Here's an example manual playlist I just created using a single track straight out of Apple Music: Manual Playlist

I then created a Smart Playlist which has a single rule — Playlist is "Manual Playlist:" Smart Playlist Criteria

iTunes quickly shows a cloud icon with a slash through it next to the playlist name, indicating my playlist won't be synced to other devices. Smart Playlist Not Syncing

Clicking the icon displays this message:

The playlist "Smart" Playlist” can’t be added to your iCloud Music Library.

iCloud Music Library playlists can only include music from your iCloud Music Library. This playlist can’t be uploaded because it includes other media kinds or songs that are not eligible.

That's weird, because the only track in this playlist is an audio track straight from Apple Music.

I found references around the web suggesting the bitrate, media kind, frequency, or iCloud Status causing this message and affecting the ability to sync a Smart Playlist, but it all looks like BS to me. I originally hit this issue with a mix of Apple Music, Matched, and Uploaded tracks, but I have a single track on here from Apple's own music service. There's no reason it shouldn't sync.

The playlists are absolutely identical in terms of content and format: Manual and Smart Playlist Comparison

I can't find documentation from Apple on whether Smart Playlists referencing another playlist is even supported, but it's kind of nuts that it doesn't work.

The Power BI KPI Trend Axis

I love the idea of KPI visuals. The concept that a quick glance will instantly tell you whether something is good, bad, or meh is incredibly appealing.

But Power BI comes up way short here. Sure, you can import your existing PowerPivot model with measures and KPIs from Excel, but that process won't be much help when starting from an existing Power BI model.

Power BI does have a KPI visual, but it's a little tricky to get right and it takes up a ton of space. More importantly, the trend graph in that visual is wildly misleading and can send the wrong impression because there's no ability to configure the Y-Axis.

Here's a fictional example of sales by month, plotted as an area chart with the Y-Axis starting at 0. Sales seem to jump around between 8 and 12 over the course of the year, but you can tell they don't deviate too far from the median line also plotted.

Compare that same data to the KPI visual with the Trend Axis enabled. The graph incorrectly suggests we have dramatic increases and decreases each month. This is because the Y-Axis starts at the minimum data value (8) and goes to the maximum data value (12). Unlike the other visuals, you cannot muck with the start and stop points.

 

Hopefully Microsoft issues an update to this visual which allows configuration of the Y-Axis values. For now you're probably best served by removing the KPI trend axis and stacking an area, line, or column chart below the KPI with a fixed Y-Axis.

Something like this works pretty well for reports, but breaks down for dashboards because you can't overlap the tiles.

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