Daily Archives: March 23, 2010

The Methodology

With the addition of the 5th Gen iPod Nano, I’ve examined how I rate songs.  To be honest, I’d rather have song tagging, but since I don’t have that, I’ve had to define how I use the star rating system.  This way, I have a more consistent metric for using the tools that I have.

One star – Delete

There is something wrong with this file.  It’s broken in some way, either there’s clipping or it cuts off, or is mislabeled.  Or I could just really hate the song and what the hell is it doing in my library?  Also, podcasts from 2005 are typically one starred.

Two stars – Meh

Pieces of incidental music that I don’t feel, and that’s their problem.  (Typically tracks from soundtracks, although Vangelis is a notable exception.)  Also songs from albums that I just ripped in their entirety that I don’t care too much for.

Three stars – Well maybe

Audit.  These are songs that need listening in order to see how I feel about them.   There is a smart playlist in iTunes for this and it fills up with 25 songs.  I try to get through them during the workday, giving them a full listen while I’m at my desk and the iPod is easily at hand.

Four stars – Pretty good

These are songs that I will listen to in their entirety, depending on my mood.  Typically an easy decision to make, I just four star music that I enjoy.

Five stars –

I am physically unable to skip these songs.  It is a physiological impossibility.

How this works:

I search for one star songs in my library and delete them.  Then, comes some iTunes configuration.  Specifically, three smart playlists that are synchronized to the iPod.

  1. First, a smart playlist that is automatically filled with music that is rated four stars or above.  This way, I’ll always have something I want to listen to.
  2. Then another smart playlist for songs rated three stars, but limited to 50 songs.  This list is typically listened to at work, while the iPod is close at hand on my desk.  As I go through the list, I make sure to rate songs that I enjoy at least four stars, while some songs I leave at three stars for another listen.  Some songs go down to one or two stars and those never come back to the iPod.
  3. Finally, a smart playlist that’s filled with songs that are unrated.  This is another list that I go through at work.

In this way, I hope to be through my iTunes music library with a better idea of what I like and don’t like.