iTunes 7.4 - Album Rating

iTunes Tips
All the hype in yesterday's announcements was around ringtones and the new Touch ipods. For rating junkies there is now an album rating feature.

Albums have a 0-5 star rating that by default appears to be an average of the ratings on the tracks on the album. You can also manually set the rating.

In smart playlists you can now also select all the tracks for an album based on the Album Rating. If you have a smaller capacity ipod you could start to auto manage the albums that are downloaded by selecting something like

Match Any
Album Rating > 3 star 
My Rating > 3
Limit By x Gb

This will pull in the whole album when you like loads of the tracks, and just individual tracks when you don't think much of the rest of the album

by jpoynton on Sep 06 | 6:03 am


I've run into some trouble with Live Updating on an iPod using a smartlist:

Album Rating > 3 Stars
My Rating is 0 Stars
Limit is 25 songs

The expected behavior is that after rating a song, if I exit the playlist and then return to it, the rated songs will be gone and replaced with unrated songs that match the criteria, if there are any. If there aren't any, the playlist will just have fewer than 25 songs.

The behavior I get is that the playlist doesn't change at all. Is Album Rating one of the criteria that breaks Live Updating?

by Matthew Glover on Sep 10 | 3:49 pm

I have to say I love the Album Rating feature but it's killed a lot of my existing playlists.

I have a number of playlists based around a track rating of 4 or 5. Now though, because I've manually rated a few albums, iTunes has indicatively rated the remaining unrated tracks from the album with the overall album rating. This means that tracks I haven't rated are now appearing in the playlists for 4 and 5 rated songs as the album is rated a 4 (for example).

Any ideas how to exclude iTunes autorated tracks?

by Gareth on Oct 01 | 9:36 pm

I don't think that you can, Gareth. I haven't found any way to distinguish between "real" ratings and generated ratings.

by Matthew Glover on Oct 02 | 11:58 am

Matthew, It seems to me that smart playlists don't (or don't always) shrink on an iPod. I had a similar scenario on mine, but it didn't involve album rating. It was last-skipped instead. I expected the playlist to shrink, and it didn't. It did, however, remove the song when I sync'd next.

by limbodog on Oct 02 | 12:47 pm

Matthew thanks a lot for the response, yeah I think there is nothing you can do about it.

In the end I had to go through the entire album ratings I had made (thankfully only around 40 at that point) and undo them. This means my Top Tracks smart playlist is working as it should.

The downside is that the Top Albums are included based on the iTunes average of 4 and 5 star songs included within them.

Oh well, that's the lesser of two evils.

by Gareth on Oct 02 | 12:53 pm

Smart Playlists on iPods have some pecularities. I have a bunch that I use regularly, so I've gotten a lot of experience at figuring out what I broke *this* time.

The basic example is this:

My Rating > 3 stars
Last Played Date is before 1 month ago
Limit to 10 songs selected by random

If I hit play on this playlist, it starts cranking down through the songs. If I then look at the playlist, nothing has change. No update. However, if I back out to the menu and then go back into the playlist, it's updated and removed the songs that I just played (because of the Last Played Date).

Some particular rules break Live Updating on an iPod SP. IIRC, this rule does:

Podcast is [true|false]

Any playlist using that rule won't live update on an iPod, unless Apple has changed something in the last couple of months and I didn't notice.

I believe that the Album Ratings calculations have to be done by iTunes, so SPs based on that only get updated at syncs.

by Matthew Glover on Oct 02 | 12:55 pm

Hmmm, interesting stuff.

I don't see the updating part being a problem on the iPod. I want to have both the Top Albums and Top Tracks playlists on the iPod, but are Smart Playlists in the manner in which they are decided, but don't update or change once playing / played on the iPod itself.

The key thing was to ensure that tracks I didn't rate manually were not included in the Top Tracks Playlist.

Thanks for your thoughts and help.

by Gareth on Oct 02 | 7:30 pm

iTunes will update a smart playlist after each song played. iPods will update a smart playlist once you exit the smart playlist.

And from what I've seen, if it has nothing to replace what ought to be removed, iPods will never empty out a smart playlist until you sync up.

by limbodog on Oct 03 | 10:44 am

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