rating tracks - is it worth it?

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Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by sukelis » Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:32 pm

This has been interesting to read through. My library is in flux ATM so I'm interested in other views. I do use ratings because they are the key to auto-playlists, and I've found that auto lists are the key to variety. Otherwise I listen to the same things over and over. :-?

What I have been doing, being an amazingly lazy person, is rate everything as 3 stars, even if I haven't heard it. Then when listening individual tracks will get bumped up or down, if needed. Anything below 3 is never included in an auto-playlist, so going below 3 is a lot like deleting it. A 2 is a track I don't like and a 1 is a track that I hate (and would delete if it weren't for the OCD need to keep albums together). The 4's and 5's are basically used to narrow the field for portables or real faves.

This is a very simplistic system but it let me tap into the advantages without having to put in much effort. :wink:

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by jqueeng02 » Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:59 pm

I also just ignore the rating thing. BUt now that I know its uses, I think I'm gonna rate all my songs now! Thank you for this thread.

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by Aff » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:30 am

I use ratings to manage my collection. My portable players are able to set ratings, so I can listen and rate the music everywhere.

My 5 star system:
0 (unrated) - Standard, not yet listened to or nothing special.
1 - Awful, can be deleted. Once in a time I check those tracks in MM shortly and mostly delete them.
2 - Bad sound quality or damaged. Once in a time I check if I can get a better version (e.g. from another release).
3 - Mediocre. Not good, but I will possibly keep it.
4 - Quite good.
5 - Outstanding, great music and sound quality.

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by BlackRip05 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:05 pm

I played a few times with a couple of rating systems however I had a hard time to find a rating system that suited me. So this is what ended up doing wich is pretty simple and basic but makes a whole lot sense for me and adds a new dimension to the autoplaylist and all the different combinations that are possible.

I rate 1 cd at a time, start with the 1 star and work my up to 5 (I don't use the bomb)

1 Star - Usually songs that not only I don't like but if it starts playing I actually have to run and skip it!
Not many songs but there are some out there, more than you can think of

2 Star - Songs that don't do it for me, don't like or don't care (but I don't get upset if I have to listen to it)

Obviously 1 and 2 are not considered anywhere in any playlist but I don't want to delete them since they are part of an official album (my ocd side)

3 Star - Everything else that is not a 1 or 2, at this point is should be all good songs.

4 Star - Identify the top 3-4 songs as "Best of", just like if I was creating a greatest hits cd

5 Star - The masterpiece of the album, it's usualy one of the 4 stars above that becomes a 5 stars. Although I have to admit that sometimes it is difficult. I usually ask myself the question if I had to listen to only 1 song on that album which one would it be... but sometimes I do have 2....

It's pretty easy when you do it on your ipod and sync it back to your library. I try to do 3 cd's a day on my way to work/home. I am about 75% done after 6 months but then again I only have about 15,000 songs....

Another tip I read once I think on this forum but I am not sure.
I use the grouping field to identify the rating. So for all 5 stars I indicate a "5" in the grouping field and so on.

There is 2 purpose for that:
1) if for some reason my rating gets deleted or someone messes it up, I can identify/isolate the proper rating via that field.
2) if I need to use another program that does not recognise/support the rating system, I can also use that field to identify and reset my rating system in a matter of seconds.

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by GeraldB » Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:31 pm

Lazy me... I've never entered ratings (or genre, date, track number, composer, etc., and I've never missed any of these). As I recall, I didn't want to make the effort and felt that if I had some cuts with low ratings I would never play them. However I do somewhat the same thing by having "hits" playlists, i.e., Bluegrass Hits, Doo-Wop Hits, etc., to make it easy when I want to find my favorites. Suits me fine.

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by Sizzly » Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:04 am

I use the Last.fm DJ script (in reverse of why it was designed) to find new music. Ratings are required to make that go. Here's what I did for it: http://djsizzly.com/content/finding-coo ... ediamonkey

I also concur with all the other thoughts on why ratings are handy.

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by mcow » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:27 am

I like ratings but I don't live or die by them. When I'm just looking at entries in MM, I'll give ratings to the songs I remember well, which usually means four-to-five stars (or two, if the song is memorably lame).
When I'm listening, I'll periodically bring up the MM window and look at what's unrated in the songs recently played. Some of them remain unrated, because I haven't heard the song enough to have settled on an opinion, or I wasn't paying enough attention while listening. Otherwise, if I remember hearing it but no more than that, and it wasn't annoying, it gets three stars; if it had a decent hook or other memorable feature, it'll get 3.5.

4.0, 4.5, 5.0 are the cream, and it's a bit of a die-throw exactly which rating a really good song gets. 2.5 songs are weak or have some problem (run on too long, or someone singing off-key on an otherwise good song); 2.0 and less are not good. The 0-to-1.5 range is unnecessary but some stinkers get those ratings anyway. 98% of the music in my library consists of ripped albums, and I don't delete tracks just because I don't like them. Sometimes you need to play a bad one for a friend just to demonstrate how bad the song is.

The ratings do change; often they'll get nudged by a half-star in one direction or other. Ratings are set in context of the artist; nothing Amy Winehouse has done is as good as the best of Björk, but a couple of Amy's songs still get four stars because they're fun and good to listen to.

Interestingly, songs on last.fm that I "love" aren't all five stars, and not all my five-star songs are "loved." Even on a given album by a favorite artist, I might "love" a four-star track but not a five-star one. I think this because the rating includes technical considerations, but on last.fm the "love" goes to songs with an emotional punch.

Songs with less than three stars get excluded from AutoDJ and mix-lists for the portable, but I also have a playlist called "nomix" which gets songs that I don't want to pop up randomly, such as ones I prefer to hear in album sequence.

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by thebrady » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:36 pm

I've gone through several different revisions of how I use ratings. Each time I change my mind I do a mass deletion of saved ratings on songs. I think I've finally found my final method of rating songs.

I rate my songs to easily aid in the creation of a few different auto playlists.

1 Star = Any very mellow / tranquil late night kind of music. Good for either late nights on the computer or even when listening to music in bed.
2 Stars = Any good mellow/chill song that is worth listening to often. More upbeat than the 1 star songs.
3 Stars = My all-time favorite mellow/chill songs. Often I'll mark something 2 stars, then over time upgrade it to 3 stars.
4 Stars = Any good upbeat song that is worth listening to often.
5 Stars = My all-time favorite upbeat songs.

This way I can create these playlists:

Sleepy = All 1 star music.
Chill = All 2 and 3 star music.
Chill+ = All 2, 3, and 5 star music. This way it picks up the beat a little bit with some more of my all time favorites
Upbeat = All 4 and 5 star music
Upbeat+ = All 3, 4, and 5 star music. Mixes in some of my favorite more chill songs.
Awesomesauce = All 3 and 5 star songs. Just a shuffle of my all-time favorite tracks.

I don't bother rating anything not worthy of a playlist, those songs will get their play when I listen by album.

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by Solitaire001 » Fri May 08, 2009 1:47 am

Although I'm late to the topic, I'll add my comments. I think that it is worth it to take the time to rate at least some of your tracks. One of the main things that I use ratings for is to control the tracks that are loaded on my player. Simply put, only rated tracks are loaded on my player.

As far as specific ratings go I keep it simple. I use 5 stars for my favorite tracks, and 3 stars for tracks that I want on my player and tend to keep there. Tracks that I rate 1 star are tracks that I want on my player temporarily (like podcasts and audiobooks that I'm currently listening to). For me, is about as detailed as I need to get concerning ratings.

I am taking time to add more detail to my tags, such as adding mood and tempo for some songs. This allows me to create more finely tuned auto playlists that allow me to better enjoy my music.

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by garbanzo » Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:46 am

well, i did it. i rated all my tracks. i was home sick half of last week, and i spent two whole days sitting in front of my computer rating every song in my library. and i'm so glad i did! making autoplaylists works so much better now! plus, the whole exercise forced me to re-think my entire collection. i deleted about a gig of albums that received poor ratings.

i did it an artist at a time, and rated songs not on an overall scale, but on a scale relative to the artist's other works. it makes for a somewhat unbalanced playlist if i try to shuffle all 4 and 5 star tracks, but it works out for the better in the long run.

here's my breakdown. not too scientific...

5 - best of the best
4 - great song. i can sing along to it, and enjoy listening.
3 - average. i don't dislike it, but it represents the artist's work well.
2 - no thanks. usually intro tracks or intermissions, but very occasinoally a song that just irks me and i don't want to hear unless i'm listening to an album start to finish.
1 - other. usually reserved for live sets or radio recordings that contain several songs in one file. also for the few jazz or classical albums i have that are hard to rate, since i only listen to them very occasionally, and i more or less like all tracks equally. it also helps keep those tracks out of autoplaylists.

i also tagged all my track with album type, so live albums or live tracks can be left out of shuffles, since they usually don't mix well with studio tracks.

in the end i'm glad i did it. doing it while i was sick worked out great, i was able to get it all done in two days without feeling guilty and without going crazy since i wasn't all there mentally. it's great seeing my music collection take shape. i also just finished getting artist images for all tracks which i added to my foobar config (i use MM for tagging and organization but foobar for playing :oops: )

anyway that's my story. thanks to everyone who shared and helped me figure this all out!

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by Funkafonik » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:18 pm

After lots of trials and errors, I also came up with a 3-stars system, cuz to me, I don't see the point of having more than that. Here goes my definitions:

1 Star - Unlistened/0-plays or song that need more listens before I can make up my mind on rating 3-4-5. Everytime I add a new album, I rate all songs 1-star so it's easy to find and create playlists when I wanna dig in my new albums or unlistened/unrated songs.

2 Stars - Catch all, used for files I don't want in my 3-4-5 stars; Guitar Lessons, files needing re-ripping, files that aren't songs like artists speaking, joking, interviews, fillers, etc

3 Stars - Good songs that don't quite make it to 4-stars.
4 Stars - Really great songs, not perfect but really damn good.
5 Stars - Best Songs, my personal Best Of, overall perfect songs in my book.

Since I only wanna listen to music I actually like and enjoy, I don't bother keeping a star-rating for songs I don't really like or wanna hear again, I just press DELETE for those. Also, since I don't keep artists and albums I don't really like, I force myself to rate at least 1 or 2 songs in an album to 5-stars, so when I play randomly my 5-Stars playlist, I get songs from all my albums. But in the end, it's a matter of separating the songs you really like in between 4 and 5 stars. The rest you rate 3.

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by ModoX » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:19 am

I use ratings. I also only have about 5500 tracks, and after a year or two of rating still have a couple of thousand left. I did use all the ratings, with a lengthy text file explaining to me what was meant by each half star, it was fairly ridiculous I suppose. Anyway, I got a Creative Zen, which doesn't do half stars, which I didn't realise until I'd synced it back to MM and all my ratings got screwed up, I could've cried.

Nowadays, because I really need to be able to rate on the move, and because all 11 options was a bit mental, I stick to five stars, and it's much easier to choose how to rate stuff. I've got so much music that I've not given a proper chance, or albums that I only like a couple of songs on, without ratings I'd be constantly skipping tracks to get to something I'm in the mood for, especially when I don't know what I'm in the mood for. I would recommend it though really. How I rate tracks is mentioned below. And I can relate that some songs don't work as well outside of the context of their album, but I only use my ratings for how much I want to listen to single tracks. If I want an album on, I stick the album on. This has saved all my pained thinking about whether a song is 3 or 4 stars etc, I'm not rating the song's quality, just noting how often I want to listen to it.

1 Star - Crap or not bothered, or a skit or something
2 Stars - Alright, but I wouldn't listen to it outside of having the album on
3 Stars - Good song, I enjoy it but don't want to hear it loads
4 Stars - Really good, I'll almost always enjoy hearing it
5 Stars - Classics, not much goes in here and it takes a while for anything to make it to this status. It's a fairly useless rating this one, but it feels good to give 5 stars to a track that you feel really deserves it

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by Owyn » Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:39 am

This topic has been gnawing at me ever since I saw it.

Historically, I have not used ratings a lot. Mainly because I kept losing them as I bounced between jukeboxes, os's and systems.

I will continue to use and test other players as need arises (e.g. working in Linux, use Amarok), but, MM will be my library manager for the foreseeable future. And, MM stores ratings in tags. :D

Play history has been even more volatile, however, I decided to go with a cloud based play history in 2007 and after checking around found a home in Last.Fm. In general this has worked well. I can aggregate my plays from any of a variety of players and instances of same in various OS. Just put in your credentials for Last.Fm and Bob's Your Uncle. This approach has not been without teething pains. Getting my opinion and Last.Fm's in synch about what is "proper" tagging has been a challenge. But, we have come to a compromise that, in general, also resulted in more portable tracks (think other players, portable players, etc.).

I have never had a clear definition in my own head of what any rating means. As a result, any ratings I currently have in my library are inconsistent.

Dale's definition
2 stars ; means it's a track I can go without hearing again, but it's still in my library for 1 reason or another.
3 stars ; means it's a good song, but it doesn't necessarily hit the spot
4 stars ; it's a great track
Seems like a good starting point.

I am going to let this gestate for a bit longer, but, I am likely to wipe all ratings from my Library and start over with a clean set of rules.

Working thoughts on this are:
-Top Albums based on Last.FM Overall Albums: 4 stars.
-Best Of collections: 3 stars.
-New listens, Liked. 3 stars. Keep playing it, 4 stars.
-New listens, Ok, but nothing special. 2 Stars.
-Hate this. 1 star.
-Individual tracks will continue to stand out. Base approach, add 1 star to album base rating. Last.FM Overall Track history will give a good checklist for first candidates for starhood.
-Unrated tracks will just be things I have either not listened to recently or I listened to and did just not feel like rating.

Need to fine tune this to handle e.g. duplicates in Library (i.e. rate best quality version of track).

Well, end of note to myself and the world.

Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by DaledeSilva » Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:41 am

I only use 3 ratings commonly as I find it the best mix of usefulness and effort without confusion
When I used to use 5 I'd really commonly find myself stewing over whether a track was 4 stars or 5 stars or other pairs.
It made managing my collection too much of a chore and therefore listening to music too much of a chore instead of fun and relaxing.


2 stars ; means it's a track I can go without hearing again, but it's still in my library for 1 reason or another.
3 stars ; means it's a good song, but it doesn't necessarily hit the spot
4 stars ; it's a great track

the only time I use 1 star is to note that something is wrong with a track (ie, it has a skip in it or it's bad quality, and I should re rip it)

I don't mark favourite tracks 5 stars because 5 star compared to 4 star is affected by your most recent favourites as well as the mood you're in. Besides, if it's really the best song on the album or a current favourite, you'll know it by name.

so this way, I can quickly choose between 3 ratings without much pondering.
occasionally I might flick to 5 stars, but i don't have to stress about it because I know eventually I'll make it 4 stars anyway.

I've never used half stars because I don't see how you can possibly create anything that acurate that persists through your moods and years.


Re: rating tracks - is it worth it?

by garbanzo » Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:04 am

well, i have pretty much decided not to go through with track ratings. i've payed close attention to my listening habits over the last several days, and i'm realizing that i'm really an album person. i don't have any single tracks, and i have very few soundtracks/compilations. instead, i tend to find artists that i like quite a lot, then get everything they have done. this usually just means all studio albums, unless they really change their sound during their career - sometimes i can justify not collecting everything because of this. for the few artists i really like, i even try to collect singles, EPs, promos, and the occasional bootleg if the quality is acceptable.

i do use shuffle, but usually just within a single artist or sub-genre. when i do, i'm not really listening - it's just something in the background while i'm working on a project and i'm focused elsewhere. if i'm listening to music for the sake of listening to music, especially when commuting, i play full albums.

i like the idea of track ratings, and i can picture myself using them occasionally, but getting from A to B is just not worth the gain.

i might go for the Mood, Tempo, Occasion tags, but i doubt it. these are just tooo subjective. it was hard enough to decide on a good system of genres!

thanks again for the input everyone :)