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(Quick context: I'm running iTunes 9 on Windows XP.)

In the Options tab of the iTunes Get Info box, there's an option for selecting a track's "Media Kind". Under iTunes 9 the list of options are Music, Podcast, iTunes U, Podcast, and Voice Memo. (And I'm pretty sure some of those options are new in 9.)

My question then, is this: what does setting the Media Kind actually do for you besides having the given track appear in the respective library tree on the left pane?

Does iTunes just treat this as a kind of "meta-genre" to be searched and filtered against, or is there an actual feature difference?

To put a specific example out there: my rip of my Hitchhiker's Guide CD is currently under Music with a Genre of Radio Show. Is moving that to a Media Kind of Audiobook or Podcast going to gain me anything?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's very useful to be able to change the media kind if you own an iPod, as you get different features for audiobooks and podcasts (2x speed, 1/2 speed, skip back 30s).

I would also consider the searching, filtering and library categorisation as a feature. I think it is nicer to see the Hitchhiker's Guide as one book icon, with the chapters organised within that, rather than having this lumped in with the rest of my music.

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Another benefit of having your media properly categorised is when it comes to using shuffle during playback. Before I moved my audiobook rips out to the audiobook section, if I decided to just hit shuffle for some random songs from my library, I'd often get random audiobook chapters in amongst the music. Though I don't have any, I can imagine that the same would also be true of any iTunes U content, etc.

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