iTunes & Quicksilver: If You Like It, ★++ It

Obsessively rating music is a frustrating waste of time. Listen to a track, give it a rating between 1 and 5 stars. Sounds easy, but my problem is, I don’t really know how much I like a track, at least not definitively. I mean, I like it, certainly, but exactly how much? Are these 1-5 stars even on a linear scale or does it get progressively harder to achieve the next level? Will the track get offended if it’s only a two? Is one star a hated track (the notion of rewarding stars, even one to a song you hate is oxymoronic, why not just uncheck or, in the worst case, delete it)? I don’t need this cognitive and emotional load in my life just to demonstrate I like a tune.

I also don’t want to rely on having rated everything just to help organise my listening. It’s certainly helpful to have a few smart playlists which use track ratings, but I can’t rate it all! And I definitely don’t want to be nagged to rate unrated tracks. I’ve got about 60 days of audio, I’d go insane.

I want to rate a song when the feeling takes. To say, “I’m liking this!”, without too much baggage and without having to switch into iTunes and decide which of the fiddley stars to click on, or to engage in what it might mean. I want the results of a system, without having to engage too actively with it. I don’t want to have to remember whether I’ve previously rated it. In fact, I want to make a virtue of this possibility.

To achieve this I use the wonderful Quicksilver and its iTunes plugin. If I like something, I use the iTunes plugin’s Increase Rating.scpt script which will increase the tracks rating by one, whatever its previous rating, up to five. As soon as I’ve thought of doing it, it’s done. The more often a track grabs my attention, the more likely it will eventually achieve a high rating. It’s a system that matures, and where each track has to earn its stars.