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bart (450)

Journal of bart (450)

Monday January 31, 2005
08:20 PM

Rating music

[ #22958 ]
I encounter lists of music tracks in several programs, where I can assign a rating to a track. I noticed that I use a different rating system depending on what list it is, not just how fine the steps are (usually one can only assign between 1 and 4 or 5 stars) but also, what kind of music list it is. My ratings just don't happen to be proportional between the lists.

The truth of it is, I just use a few check points to choose a rating, not some absolute numerical value, and I just don't use the same check list between the lists. Here is what works for me:

iRate radio

iRate radio is a system that chooses music for you, based on your rating of everything it gave you before, and the ratings of other people whose taste in music appears to have a correlation to yours.

Ratings go from 0 to 4 stars:

  • 0 stars (score: 0/10): "This sux"
    "Get rid of it now!" If this song was playing on the radio, I'd go and turn it off. I really don't want to hear one second more, not now, not ever.
  • 1 star (score: 2/10): "Yawn"
    Not bad, but I find myself somewhat waiting for it to finish. Typical radio filler. Warrants roughly 3 plays total, spread over several weeks.
  • 2 stars (score: 5/10): "Not bad"
    This is the stuff I almost like, but which somehow doesn't quite convince me. Not a keeper, good for roughly 10 plays total, but preferably spread at least a few days apart.
  • 3 stars (score: 7/10): "Cool"
    This is a keeper. I'd put it on myself, I can easily listen to it several times in one day.
  • 4 stars (score: 10/10): "Love it"
    This is the kind of stuff I buy records for. At its peak I can easily play it several times in a row.

By choice, only stuff I rate 7/10 and higher (thus, 3 or 4 stars), will end up in my permanent music collection.

Winamp media library

This is my own personal permanent music collection, holding only the music I want to keep. Ratings go from 1 to 5 stars. As there's no reason to keep stuff I don't like, there wouldn't be much there to rate 1 or 2 stars as in iRate. That's a bit of a waste, so I don't do that: roughly, 1 star out of 5 here, agrees with a score between 6/10 and 7/10 on iRate.

My personal check points are as follows:

  • 1 star
    Sometime I even wonder why I'm keeping it. Decent enough, but nothing to really draw me in.
  • 2 stars
    Occasionally I can actually feel its attraction, but at other times, it slips. After a while I even tend to forget about it.
  • 3 stars
    Very good track. I remember who it is by, what album it's on, what other tracks there are on the same album... Good album filler.
  • 4 stars
    This is a good single, I'd buy it.
  • 5 stars
    A classic. Tracks this good don't come often. If my record where it is on got broken, I'd buy it again.

So, there isn't really a straightforward connection between these two checklists. But each on its own has its own well working guide points. So they both work for me, and do so consistently.

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  • See my column Free as in Music [stonehenge.com].
    --
    • Randal L. Schwartz
    • Stonehenge
    • Heh, I've done a very similar thing as you did in that column, but for a different purpose: I wanted to copy the stuff I like well enough to keep (3 and 4 stars in my score system) to my permanent mp3 disk, and rename the tracks, they usually have terrible names on the www, and iRate tends to use the same names for the local filenames; and properly fill in the ID3 tags too (often these are missing), all based on the data in this little XML database.

      Yes I hate it too how iRate insists on keeping everything