Using Star Ratings for Songs and Albums in Apple iTunes

Lately my shuffled songs in iTunes haven’t been doing it for me. It seems like I’m spending more time skipping through songs to hear something I like. So I’ve decided to use the star ratings to make the shuffled song experience better.

In my research I’ve found that people use the star rating system to literally rate songs. For example 5 stars is a great song and 1 star is a shit song. Now this seems like a reasonable approach right? It may seem that way on the surface but it’s not. Let me explain.

In my humble music library I have a grand total of 11640 songs at present. My collection of Beatles tunes itself is enormous, pretty much encompassing their entire discography. Now most people would agree that the Beatles are a five star band correct? So by nature I marked all my Beatles songs as five star. The problem with this approach, I found very quickly, is that when I shuffled my songs the Beatles would play for every other song!

This meant I had to rethink the entire star rating system. Rather than thinking of the star rating on a shit to great scale I had to wrap my head around it being more of an occasional to frequent scale. So this means that when I rate my Beatles library all as two stars or three stars it simply means I want the songs to play less frequently than they were before.

Also with smart playlists you can do some magic. I’ve created some playlists called “2 Stars Up and “3 Stars Up” which I can use to create some great mixes. Also there’s already a built in smart playlist called “My Top Rated” that already accounts for songs with 4 and 5 stars.

star rating itunes

There’s a lot of things you can do with iTunes and the smart playlist functionality is amazing. You could even create playlists with different parameters like the one below that has Year and Rating values assigned. This is accomplished by clicking the plus button to the right of the fields.

star rating itunes

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. I’d love to hear how you organize your own music library.


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