In my personal opinion as both Mac and Windows users, iTunes is the best music player I’ve come across. The simple yet intuitive interface alone is enough to make me ditch other players out there. And there are many other powerful features which hides behind the simplicity of the appearance.
One of the iTunes features that I like most is the rating system. Users can tag any song with one to five stars based on their preferences, and users can sort or filter the playlist based on the rating. A quick glance at someone’s iTunes display and you can clearly tell which songs he/she likes and dislikes.
The rating system really is a great idea; but, and this is a big but (no pun intended), the bigger the song list, the more difficult for users to give rating to each and every song. Can you imagine editing 2376 songs one by one? That’s the size of a tiny part of my current song list. (And I don’t know anybody who has less than 100 songs on their list).
AutoRate to the rescue
Luckily, there’s an application called AutoRate which can help iTunes users to rate their songs. This app tries to ‘guess’ user’s listening preferences and give rate to each song automatically by looking at how often each track is played and how many times each track is skipped.
The formula uses a combination of play and skip frequency (averaged out over the life of each track), and the play and skip count. Tracks that are frequently skipped are penalised, while often-played tracks are given a higher rating.
Both the track play count and skip count are used in conjunction with the length of time each track has been in your library to determine, on a relative basis, how much you like each track. Ratings become dynamic and change with your taste in music following how you listen to your songs.
That is why you will get no rating for the track that has never been played.
Before using AutoRate, please make sure that you have iTunes version 7 and above, and Mac OS X 10.5 (and above). If those requirements are met, download and install the app.
The usage is simple: you just open it, and click the “Begin” button. It will analyze your playlist, then assign the ratings automatically based on the result.
There are some adjustments that you can make via the Preferences, such as:
– which playlist folders to be given ratings to. (General)
– how would you like to set up the rating system. (Rating)
– whether to use full star or half star rating. (Advanced)
With AutoRate, my iTunes playlist has grown a little bit more mature without me having to do the hard work.
One last note, you would want to run AutoRate every once in a while to keep the rating system up to date.
Have you use AutoRate? Or do you have other alternatives of similar app? Please share using the comment below.