[EN] iTunes for advanced users: how to take advantage of “Album Rating” tag

Since its introduction, the “Album Rating” tag behaviour and usage have not been totally clear, but it could indeed become a really powerful tool for sorting out your music collection even better, so let’s give a quick look to it. We already had the standard “Rating” tag, do we really need an “Album Rating” tag as well? Yes we do, and I will show you why.

If you are an avid music collector and cataloguer, and your collection is bigger than one terabyte like in my case, somewhen in your life you will need to create a “Best Albums” playlist, a subset of your collection that you would bring with you on the Moon. Creating a “Best Albums” playlist is not an easy task like creating a “Best Tracks” playlist, you need good evaluation skills to rely on. Considering just the single tracks ratings will bring you to a too much and cluttered “Best Albums” playlist.

In the first example, we have an EP with three tracks: two of them are rated five stars and one is rated four stars, that means that the album is quite good, but I rated it four stars, because it’s not an album that I could listen endless times.

In the second example, we have a four-tracks EP: two of them are rated five stars, while the other two are rated four stars. This EP is worst than the first one under a mathematic perspective, but it means something to me and I will rate it five stars instead.

You could have twelve-tracks albums with all the tracks rated five stars, that means that it’s an excellent album, but it’s not mandatory to rate it five stars as album as well. If you are not interested into listen to it anymore, or if doesn’t mean anything to you, or if it doesn’t give you emotions anymore… the reasons could be many, that’s why the equation:

all/most of the tracks are rated five stars = the whole album must be rated five stars as well

doesn’t make any sense. It’s not a mathematical thing, otherwise Apple would have set the “Album Rating” as an automatic mechanism, instead of a user-generated tag 😉

Nowadays we are getting the first free cloud storage options, such as Microsoft SkyDrive or Google Music, but since they are free, they obviously don’t offer unlimited storage, at least for now, but few gigabytes or a limited number of tracks instead. So setting up a good “Best Albums” playlist would offer you the chance to have the best subset of your music collection always with you: at work, on trip, on your smartphone etc, you will just need a broadband connection to stream it 🙂 And taking advantage of the misused “Album Rating” tag in iTunes would make this task quite easier for you 😉

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