Friday, May 11, 2007

Automatically rate your iTunes tracks with AutoRate

Have you ever wanted to rate songs in your iTunes library, but that overwhelming fear of commitment was just too much. Is this song a 5 or is that one a 4? This track was a 3 last week, but now it might be a 4 1/2 this week. How many more songs do I have to rate? Wait a minute, this is my iTunes library! Shouldn't every song be a 5?... If you're having a similar internal battle and want to stop the voices, look no further than the freeware application AutoRate.

This little app helps you rate your entire iTunes library based on "listens". That way, you get out of having to make the big decision and AutoRate uses your iTunes metadata to give you a non-bias, data driven rating system. Ah, peace at last. Here's how it works:
rating = (100 * ( (play frequency - lower) / (upper - lower) ) - skips per month * 5
Where upper is the main play frequency + 2 standard deviations, and lower is the mean play frequency - 2 standard deviations.

What does all of this high school algebra mean? Tracks that are skipped or not played often are given lower ratings, while tracks played with greater frequency are given a higher rating. Here's an example. In my library I had a song that I had played 10 times... 3 months ago. I also had a song with 3 plays, 2 days ago. Which one had the higher rating? The latter, which I think is great. That means the songs your jamming to at the moment will always get higher ratings in your library, as they should. The nice part is that the download comes with a bit of AppleScript you can utilize to keep updating your ratings as you listen.

Finally, the author mentions a tip that you can use to skip a song without penalizing it. I think it's a clever addition, but I believe it's self-defeating. If you really want to skip a song, then it deserves to be penalized. Otherwise, your skewing your own data.



1 comment:

  1. Sweet! I've always wanted to try an auto playlist based on ratings, but didn't want to take the time to rate hundreds of songs. This might just do the trick without all the pain.

    Does it also include playing history from late model iPods?