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Time for the stars to come out
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Case Study: Create Your Own Personal Jukebox Using iTunes (aka Music) – Step 2

Okay. After following the steps from last time, you now have all your music in iTunes (aka Music). Your next long-term task on the path to creating a personal jukebox is to rate everything.

Yep, everything. Every single song needs a rating. It’s the key to making this entire process work.

Fortunately, when I say ‘every single song needs a rating’, we can fudge it, at least in the short term. The iTunes software has functionality built in to rate an album and have every song on that album default to that rating.

So that’s where we begin. Get a view of all the artists in iTunes (select ‘Artists’ from the left bar), and work your way through them, according to these basic rules of thumb:

1 star = I never want to hear these songs (I don’t recommend using this rating level, unless the song has been corrupted in some way and doesn’t play properly). To begin with at least, we’re going to give every song a chance.

2 stars = I don’t like these songs. For the purposes of this virtual jukebox, this is the lowest ranking. Songs with a 2 star rating can sometimes randomly show up, but it’s going to be very rare. But sometimes songs grow on you. This gives them a chance to win you over – a slim chance, but a chance.

3 stars = Meh. This is the default. If you have no strong opinion – or just don’t know the songs – give it three stars.

4 stars = I like these songs. These are the songs you like. You react favourably to them. They sound good to your ears. You get the gist.

5 stars = These are your absolute favourites. Songs that you will never get sick of.

In order to get a quick rating set up for every single song in your collection, you work your way through each artist in iTunes (maybe via a recurring task, say, in an app designed specifically to monitor recurring tasks) and rate each album from that artist (to rate an entire album, you simply use the stars below the album name).

To save brainpower, you can give every album from the same artist the same rating to begin with. The important point here is to give every song in your iTunes a rating in the right ballpark. You can finetune it all later.

It may take several iterations of the ‘Rate 5 artists’ task to get through your entire list of songs. But once you’ve got your initial ratings set up, we can build our jukebox.

But that’s for next time.

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