iTunes Re-Rating

My new music workflow is pretty simple: put the CD through the Great CD Preservation Project meatgrinder at home, rip again at the office [but only because I can rip faster than I can upload-download], listen at work.

I have two iTunes smart playlists designed for new music: Recently Added [any song imported into iTunes in the last seven days] and Top Songs of the Last Month [four- and five-star songs imported in the last month]. I use a third smart playlist, Unrated Songs, to let me quickly rate new stuff.

What I’m finding, though, is that I’m sometimes … overly enthusiastic with ratings. Stuff that gets a five-star rating really only deserves a four, and stuff that deserves a three might get a four. Now, this over-rating on my part usually occurs when I’m in a good mood and/or really like the artist—especially if I’m new to them!—and want to really like the music. Four- and five-star rating can end up being a habit, and … then I end up with skewed results.

Ideally, this is what I’m going for in terms of what the ratings indicate:

  • Four stars: This song is really good. I could listen to it pretty regularly.
  • Three stars: This song is good.
  • Two stars: Ehhhh … skip.
  • One star: Never play this song again!

[Yeah, I end up un-checking one-starred songs so I never hear them again.]

An example: “Dry Lightning” from Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad. It’s a nice song, but in my book … not five stars. I rated it as such, though.

I’m wondering what strategies make sense for managing this better. [If you’re saying to yourself, “Geof, you’re overthinking this! This crap doesn’t matter!” … thanks. Now, go look at something else.] If you’ve got ideas, I’d like to hear them … somehow, re-rating my fours and fives doesn’t seem like a simple process.