Some people don't understand why anyone would use the star ratings of iTunes. They figure either you like a song, or you don't, and if you don't like it, it wouldn't be in your library. I used to be one of those people.
Some people don't use the playlist feature either. I also used to be one of those people.
At one point though, I had an epiphany. I realized that I was not using iTunes to its full potential. I came up with a system, that I think, is good enough to share. That is why I'm posting this journal--To share my idea with those who may feel as I used to--Those who may be under-utilizing the potential of iTunes.
The first part of this system, is playlists. To be more specific, smart playlists.
Smart playlists are incredible! I realized that I could create custom playlists, of music that I want to listen to, that automatically recreate
themselves in order not to become stale!
I'll explain with an example. These were the rules of my first experimental smart playlist:
1. Tracks that have only been played within the last 30 days.This keeps everything current. The playlist will consist of only music that I have recently listened to.
2. Tracks that have not been played within the last 3 days.This keeps everything fresh. You won't hear the same stuff over and over again.
3. Tracks with a rating of three stars, or better.This ensures that only tracks that I actually want to hear, play (more on this to come).
4. Limit the playlist to three hours.I chose a limit, but you may choose to do differently
5. Enable 'Live Updating.'With this option turned on, as soon as a track plays all the way through, it will be removed from the playlist, due to rule number two, and it will be replaced by a song of the appropriate length due to rule number three!
I named this playlist "3 Random Hours."I intentionally used the number '3,' in order to force the playlist to the top of the list.
Now for the stars--
I decided on the following rating system:
This rating is only use under two circumstances:
Either I don't like the track, and I will delete it from my library (for obvious reasons, I only end up with this when I am rating from my iPod), or I consider it to be "filler." A filler track is when an artists has a track of random sounds, or sometimes spoken words, that can not be considered a song by its own merit, but an album would be incomplete without it. An example of artists who do this are Nine Inch Nails
, and Tool
This is a rating that I use for a track that I am not particularly fond of, by an artist that I like well enough that I wouldn't want an incomplete album, such as in the above example.
This is a neutral rating. When I am judging a track for ratings purposes, I start every track as three stars mentally. Then, as I listen, I will either go up, or down from there. These are tracks that I would not mind listening to, if they were to appear in a playlist that I have set to randomly generate.
One notch above three stars, four stars is approaching "favorite" status. This is a song that I may be likely to choose to play, rather than just listen to it at random.
These are my favorites. In a playlist of all five star songs, there are no songs that I would get tired of hearing, with the playlist on repeat.
If you're with me so far, you're ready for the final lesson. I have some very creative playlists.
For example, I have a playlist titled, "Least Played Favorites." This is a list of 20 five-star tracks, sorted by playcount, by the lowest number of plays.
Get creative, and have fun with it!
And then finally, "1 Playlist to Rule Them All." This playlist is a compilation of all of the other playlists!
In other words, the rules work this way:
1. Playlist is "A."
2. Playlist is "B."
3. Playlist is "C."
You too, can be an iTunes master in no time! ;)