I love this song, and this one, and that one

A little bit of a lighter (and shorter, again!) post tonight after the security posts of the last few days.

I have been going through and rating all of my mp3’s on my mac and have been really enjoying it because it has made me listen to stuff I that I haven’t heard for ages and that is always a good thing!

Anyway I launched iTunes tonight to play some music and noticed that every song in my view was rated at least 3 stars, I scrolled up and down and everything I had rated was 3 star or above which I guess makes sense because why would I keep songs that I only rate with 1 or 2 stars? But at the same time, it does make those stars kinda useless! :)

I know I should be using all five stars on how much I like something relative to the other music I own but sometimes the brain doesn’t quite work so logically.

But please don’t remove those underused 1 and 2 star ratings because if the star rating system was reduced to three stars, I am quite sure that I would only use two of them :)

So tell me, who has 1 and 2 star rated music in their iTunes?

P.S. Talking of music, this is a great post by chartreuse about music that is beautifully presented and the content of which, I could not agree with more.

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30 responses to “I love this song, and this one, and that one

  1. My problem is that I’m uneven in my own definitions of what a given number of stars means at different times. I think the trick is to develop some kind of rubric, like

    1 = wish I’d never heard this before (but won’t delete it because I might inflict it upon an enemy someday)
    2 =
    3 =
    4 =
    5 = I’d consider having this played as the one song at my funeral (or something like that)

    The problem is, I don’t like the examples there and can’t fill in the blanks. Any ideas?

  2. haha thats great, maybe you are the guy who would benefit from the removal of the other two stars :)

    1 = For enemies only
    3 = Funerals, first dance at your wedding, etc

    2 = Everything else…

  3. Yeah, I’ve tried to revamp my rating system based on the fact that I had an inordinate number of songs with a 3 star rating.

    I’ve found that I tend to rate songs with respect to the artist, so a 1 star song by Kevin Federline (all of his songs btw, but sometimes you just need a good laugh) isn’t really equivalent to a 1 star song by someone like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (although I’ve recently converted my least favourite song of theirs to 2 stars because I felt guilty they were in the same smart playlist as K-Fed)

    1 = Something I’d prefer to never hear again, but I’m a packrat so I’m not ditching it, because you never know when you have to win a “I bet you I have lamer songs on my iTunes” -type bet with your friends

    2 = I don’t like it, but maybe I’ll change my mind after a few more listens. Basically I’ll smart playlist all these songs to re-evaluate at a later date

    3 = The default, I don’t hate it but I don’t love it either. It’s basically in playlist purgatory

    4 = I’m going to think up a cleverly named playlist just to house this baby

    5 = I could probably listen to this song 10 times on repeat

  4. You should let someone else rate your MP3 collection, then you’d find some one or two starred stuff.

    1 = “Ha, ha, I’m going to tell everyone you know that you’ve got this!”

  5. Every piece of music I own is in my iTunes library (84.3 days’ worth and counting!)
    I tend to give ratings to pieces I particularly want to remember I’ve got and use an Applescript to randomly serve up albums I’ve not listened to since I imported them. I’m hearing some great pieces – mainly classical at home, and my iPod shuffle for rock/pop (I got rid of my stereo a while back and stream music wirelessly to my DVD-based sound system)

    A 1-star is reserved for pieces I really don’t like, 4 and 5 for great pieces. 3 means ‘nice little piece, worth remembering’ and so 2 never gets used.
    Most times though I don’t bother. I’m too busy making sure all the album artwork is in there and wishing there was a 150Gb iPod to hold it all.

  6. I use the ratings like this:

    5 – love it, personal meaning, etc
    4 – really like it
    3 – good tune
    2 – want to keep it, but don’t want it in my mixes
    1 – delete this crap

    I won’t start on all my crazy playlists.

  7. mcleveland

    I use star ratings mainly for playlist building, rather than ratings. When you look at it like that, it makes a bit more sense.
    5=I could hear this over and over again. Should be in the heaviest rotation for playlists.
    4=Great song. Should tend to be in a playlist.
    3=Something about this song makes me want to hear it a bit less than most. Probably something I’d need to be in the mood to here.
    2=Kept because it completes an album when listened to as a whole, but as a stand alone item, just doesn’t make sense to be in most playlists.
    1=There is something wrong with this track (bad encoding, etc.). Check source disk and reencode if possible. (The “rate on the fly” feature of the newer ipods makes this incredibly useful. I have a one-star smart playlist called: “Needs attention”.

  8. Yeah generally I only keep 3-5 star tracks. I use 0-2 for maintenance

    0 stars = needs a star (I have a smart playlist of unrated music)
    1 stars = something needs fixing, like a tag etc
    2 stars = kept to complete an album though I may not like the track

  9. I recommend the iTunes signature maker: http://www.jasonfreeman.net/itsm/
    It produces some interesting results…

  10. I have a few 1-star songs, and these are the ones that I don’t want to delete because they might be part of an album, and sometimes it’s good to have complete albums, no? Talking of music (I apologise in advance for hijacking the thread!), and listening to your collection, I signed up for a last.fm account (http://www.last.fm/), and now with the iTunes plugin all my musical tastes are being sent back to my homepage (on last.fm) so you can see a chart of the music I’m currently listening to, as well as weekly charts based on my weekly music listening up to that point. Everyone who signs up has their own page and stats, but then these stats are all calculated together and you get a very interesting chart on global musical tastes. Anyway, I find it interesting! :-)

    The great thing apart from the stats is that it really does encourage you to look at other peoples listening tastes too and it’s just one of those sites where you can spend a heck of a lot of time. Well, I do, and it’s got me listening to much more music because I know others are looking at my list.

    Sorry again for the tangent, but I thought since you were getting into you iTunes you and others might find last.fm interesting!

  11. Yeah ive been using Last.FM since it was Audioscrobbler. Got about 12,000 tracks recorded as listened to.

    My page

  12. I actually rate my music in relation to what else I have, not on an absolute scale, it was tough to get used to doing, but because of a recent problem I had (http://www.ambit-online.net/2006/05/03/itunes-library-shuffling/) I ended having to re-rate them all anyway, so I decided I’d rate like that, although I do admit the stuff that is rated 1 and 2 aren’t things that I care to listen to all the time.

  13. Matt Toohey

    0 – dont like it, havent rated it yet
    1 – like the song, though sick of it
    2 – alright song, listen to it now and again
    3 – good song, nothing special
    4 – good song, know the lyrics etc
    5 – top 10 songs or so

  14. I’ve got a few 2 star songs hanging around and I use 1 star for administration purposes.

    5 – Love it, iPod worthy. Convert to ATRAC3 for MD recording.
    4 – Like it, iPod worthy. Should have on the road.
    3 – Good song. Will listen to when at home with the full library.
    2- Silence; album “skits”; horrible, should delete songs; will keep for “full album” whoring
    1 – Bad rip? Cuts off? Something’s wrong and the track needs a rerip.

  15. With the exception of one poster, it seem that most people aren’t recognizing 0-stars as an actual rating.

    My star system is similar to Matt Toohey’s in that the ratings are only positive:
    0: not interested, bad etc, (also unrated)
    1: a noteworthy, but not particularly great song
    2: worth hearing, but not getting excited about
    3: pretty good song, definitely worth hearing semi-regularly
    4: very good song, would like to hear often
    5: absolute favorite songs

    I use the ratings to filter smart playlist so that any range of variety can be dialed in.

    As far as maintenance goes, I think that the star rating isn’t very suited for it (IMHO). I use a series of utility and maintenance playlists. I sort playlists that ut off, or have glitches into one, and others that don’t have art or other id3 data into others. I keep all these playlist in a folder called ‘_utilities’ so that it sorts to the top of the list.

    I also maintain incoming songs in a playlist of that name… ‘Incoming’. This is use as a holding area for files that may need scrubbing. If the track numbers, years, or any other data aren’t groomed properly then I can deal with it in the manual playlist instead of having the files get lost in the Library.

    What I can’t understand is why the iTunes team hasn’t adding keyword tagging yet. Also, it would be a really nice to be able to add custom data fields to a file. If you could select the data type (stars, slider, string, etc) you could create some really interesting custom sorting and retrieval applications.

  16. I prune my library regularly, so I don’t have songs I dislike (unless it’s a new album and they’re unrated). Like many here, I use one star for songs that have a problem and need to be re-ripped, or songs that need to be purchased (I have a few songs that are low-quality 32kbps MP3s that you can download from the artists’ sites, and even a few that are clips or 30-second samples. These get 1-star ratings.) Two stars are songs that I have listened to, didn’t like too much, but think I might like more in a different mood. Once in a while I dump all the two-star tracks onto my iPod shuffle for a couple days. Any that I like well enough to remember what they are and pull out of the playlist, I rate higher. Any I don’t, I delete.

  17. A quick note in reply to Ryan H’s comment (he was writing it at the same time as me, so I didn’t see it at first ;-). He mentions that he doesn’t think the star rating is well suited to maintenance. It’s not *perfectly* suited, but the reason I use it that way is quite simple — I use the add-on called Synergy to control iTunes with hotkeys. If a song is playing and I need to mark it as a bad rip, I just hit Cmd-Opt-Ctrl-1, which marks it as one star, and keep doing whatever I’m doing. Going into iTunes and dragging the song onto a playlist certainly isn’t a lot of work, but it’s a change in context I’d usually just skip over. Using the star ratings and Synergy hotkeys means I actually mark the songs that need action taken.

  18. Im one of those packrats that has never deleted a song from my library for about 12 years. Most of my stuff is full albums and I feel weird having 9 songs on a 12 song album. Most 1 star songs I have are stupid skits from rap albums that I HATE…argh.

    0 – Havent rated yet
    1 – Never listed to this (usually intros and skits)
    2 – Not a skit, and someone out there may like this, but not me
    3 – Average song. Lowest rating I will listen to. (I use alot of smart playlists)
    4 – Good songs that I almost always enjoy or songs I loved and have gotten sick of

    Now if only iTunes would find a way to save all my rating data so I wouldnt loose it everytime I added/deleted songs from/to my backups drive. At least theres applescript!

  19. I expected this post to get like 0 comments :) Constantly amazed by the response from you guys, and in a good way!

    I would never delete a song from an album and sure there are songs that I like less but those seem to be getting marked with a 3* :D

    I think I must just be weird :) Someone get me a shrink :)

  20. why is everybody so obsessed with using the stars as a “school marks” like system?
    this proved in the past to be far to difficult to achieve.

    my approach is completely different:
    I use the stars in an iterative process. if a song is good and I enjoy listening to it, I give it one star plus. if I hear a song and I don’t like it I substract one star.

    with this method, over time, my true favorites build up. another advantage is, that if I look at a new album which I havent listened to very much, I can still get what songs might be my favorite tracks by looking at the stars.

    I know this method takes more time and you have to listen to tracks a lot, but in my opinion this is far better than the school marks system and show which tracks you really like and which you don’t want to listen to that often (they sometimes end up being “ticked off”).

  21. Although I don’t actually rate my songs, I think I’ll have some 1’s and 2’s in there, coz I Iisten to albums not songs. I can’t stand my music folder having 1 or 2 songs that don’t belong anywhere, and I also don’t like the idea of havin an other folder because I see no point in creating an artist/album folder when theres only gonna be 2 songs in it.

  22. Interesting, I use Amarok. Yes, it’s a player that is only available for Linux, so not usable my most, but I think their treatment of this idea is novel.

    Amarok has a similiar rating system, but it is also based on listening habits. I don’t know what the metric is, but if you skip a song often it will lower the rating over time and if you play it more than other songs it will raise the rating. You can adjust the rating manually, so songs will start out high or low and then change from there based on how you treat it.

    I think it’s an Interesting in concept, but the fallout is it makes me paranoid when skipping songs I like that I’m just not in the mood for. It’s a scary world to live in when you’re worried about what your computer thinks.

  23. I don’t use ratings at all! Never have. If there’s a rated song, it’s probably a mistake. Instead I use smart playlist that adjust to my play counts.

    For thracks that need maintenance (bad rip, errors or tag mistakes) i create a “On-the-Go” Playlist (when in my iPod) and later in iTunes I move them to a playlist named “- – -” (if that’s a name).

  24. If I hate a song, it’s not in the library, and rankings scale down from there.
    0- Something to listen to
    1- ok or interesting, but not really favored
    2- something I could regularly listen to
    3- a song I’ll generally not skip
    4- favorite songs that make me weep

    and this might differ…
    5- for songs to delete in the near future.

  25. These are all great schemes!

  26. I agree with most people’s sentiments regarding star ratings however I use 1 star ratings for more than administrative purposes. I’d use a special playlist or comment tags to track that sort of stuff.

    1 star tracks are ones I’d prefer never to listen to again except in particular instances, like when listening to an entire album. I also use it for odd tracks, like annoying transitions with talking, random sound effects like sirens, or “silence” tracks that go on for minutes.

    I don’t mind the occasional 2 showing up in party shuffle, but 1s don’t below. I should do some analysis and see how many songs have each rating. I can say that my most played songs are practically all 4/5 star songs, the leaders of which are tracks of NIN’s With Teeth. Thanks Trent!

  27. I have song ratings of all kinds, my overall approach is this:

    5 – awesome song, can listen to it on repeat easily
    4 – great song
    3 – average to good song
    2 – okay if it’s part of an album, otherwise I won’t ever start a music selection with this song
    1 – unimportant and boring song; intermission songs, sound bites on soundtrack CDs, TV-size versions of theme songs, etc.

    I don’t really do much with ratings though, other than y’know.. give ratings to songs occasionally. I have no Ratings-related playlist or so, but who knows, maybe in the future. :)

  28. Senor Jordan

    Good post.
    I uncheck everything rated 1 but don’t delete any of my music –
    1 is for what I don’t want to listen to unless I choose to. 2 is for bearable/ok music that I don’t mind listening to in playlists even though they’re not my favorites.

  29. Roman Mendez

    wow, I’m surprised at the number of people on here that use the stars as another way of classifying their music by a criteria that has nothing to do with how much they enjoy the song. I personally like almost all the music I own. Some things I don’t like but used to like so I keep it for nostalgic reasons and maybe I uncheck it if it’s really bad. Aside from that I consider all my music good and I give stars to the stuff that it exceptionally good. Most of my stuff doesn’t have any stars. Right now I have 7501 songs in my library and only 689 of them have stars.
    I rate a song taking into consideration the other songs by that same artist and the other artists in my library. So, I might have an album that I don’t like so much but there is one of two songs that are pretty good so I’ll probably give those songs 1 or 2 stars because they are better than the rest in that album (or by that artist) but not as good as other songs by other artists.
    This all sounds really complicated for just putting a rating on a songs, but when I’m actually doing it I don’t really think about it, it just happens that way.

  30. 1 – Mine
    3 – Mine & Hers
    5 – Hers

    2 ipods, two preferences.