Song Rating Spergatory

I still live in the dinosaur era of digital music management, in that I download and store full albums on my computer. None of this “cloud” silliness. Not yet, at least. All these downloads start to add up, so for the past 5 or so years, I’ve “actively” listened to my music; that is, I rate my music as I listen to it.

This comic from 2008 details the basics:

  • ★★★★★ – A song I could listen to over and over.
  • ★★★★ – A song I would play at a party.
  • ★★★ – A song I’d listen to on-the-go, but not with other people.
  • ★★ – A corrupted or misnamed file. I’ve got a smart playlist which acts as a to-fix list for these.
  • ★ – A song I don’t want on my iPhone, for one reason or another.

Out of 100GB of music in my library, only about 300 songs have a 5-star rating. There just aren’t many songs I could listen to repeatedly, and even then, they might get stale, prompting me to downgrade some to 4 stars.
4-star songs that I used to think were cool often get downgraded to 3 stars, because my taste in music (or taste in friends) has changed.
3-star songs are downgraded to 1 when I realize I get zero enjoyment from listening to the song.

I try to keep my library at 100GB, which is more than any music hoarder should ever need in the era of instant song querying via Google/YouTube. When I go over that amount, I take a few minutes to look at my iTunes smart playlist that contains songs whose album has an average rating of 1, and delete entire albums that contain no redeeming tracks.

On my iPhone, I make sure to automatically load any songs I haven’t yet rated. The remaining space is filled up by 3-, 4-, or 5-star songs with the oldest “last played” date. This ensures that my library remains “fresh.”

At home, I tend to play my entire library. That’s basically the only way I ever “upgrade” any songs from 1 star in case my tastes have changed.

Much like most of the content in this blog nowadays, I’ve written this here just so I can refer to something that doesn’t fit within 140 characters. So there we go. Feel free to chime in with any other music management suggestions if you got ’em.