starTunes


The idea behind starTunes was to be able to star rate my albums and artists, as currently you can only star rate tracks in iTunes. This way I could see which artists and albums I owned I had star rated the highest and were most likely to be the ones that I wanted to play.

The album star rating is just the average of all the star ratings of each track in each album, and the artist star rating is the average of the calculated star rating of each album by that artist. The genre star rating is just the average star rating of each artist in that genre.

Then I decided that I wanted to weight certain attributes to boost the star rating of each item. For tracks I wanted to add on some extra points if a track had been played many times or had been played more recently. For Albums I wanted to boost the rating if the album had many tracks in it, showing that I had bought the WHOLE album and not just a few tracks. For Artists I wanted to boost their rating if I had bought a lot of albums from that artist, proving that I liked that artist more than one where I had only bought one album with one track in it. And finally for Genres, if the genre had many artists in it, it proved that I liked that genre more than one where there was only one artist.

Then I decided that I wanted to propagate the star rating of a popular genre back to the artists within that genre and propagate the star rating of a popular artist back to the albums written by that artist and finally propagate the star rating of a popular album back to all the tracks that were in that album. In this way I could assign a new weighted star rating to an iTunes track based off all these star ratings and weightings giving me a new way of finding my most popular tracks.

Then I found that the automatic calculation did not always get the star rating of my artists and albums in the right order so I added the ability to drag tracks up and down the list to add a "bonus" value to each item I dragged. This would then propagate its bonus to all the items within in.

Finally I realised that many people would not have star rated all of their tracks (due to the number they had and the time it takes to go through rating each tune). This could be a good way of automatically star rating your iTunes by writing the results back to the iTunes database. Users could set the importance of the various attributes of a track, album, artist and genre and generate a star rating for each track. Once each track had a star rating then they could use that existing star rating to re-boost tracks by weighting the importance of the initial star rating.

Once all the tracks have been star rated it is then easy to enhance your smart playlists in iTunes to include star rating. Some examples might be:

Tracks:

Weighting given to existing star rating

Given a tracks existing star rating, what percentage of this value do you want to apply to the overall calculated star rating? With the slider fully over to the right you will give 100% of this value to the track and with the slider fully over to the left it will give a value of zero.

Weighting given for being played recently

The date the track was played is compared with the most recently played track and the track that has not been played for longest (tracks that have not been played do not count). This time is then normalised between 0 and 100 and the slider percentage is applied to this score. This value is added onto the tracks score.
With the slider fully over to the right you will give 100% of this value to the track and with the slider fully over to the left it will give a value of zero.

Weighting given for being played many times

The number of times this track has been played will be added to the score.
With the slider fully over to the right you will give 100% of this value to the track and with the slider fully over to the left it will give a value of zero.


Albums:

Weighting for having many tracks in an album

The average of all the tracks in an album is then multiplied by a percentage based on the slider.
With the slider fully over to the right you will give 100% of this value to the album and with the slider fully over to the left it will give a value of zero.

Minimum number of tracks that make an album

Type in a value for the number of tracks that constitute an album. The idea behind this is that if you have only bought one track of an album, is the album really a valid album?

Maximum number of tracks in an album

Type in a value for the number of tracks that will not add any extra weighting to an album. The idea behind this is that if you have an album of many tracks (like a spoken book), having many tens of tracks is no better than say having 10 tracks in an album.

Weighting given back to each track in an album

With the slider fully over to the right you will give 100% of an album's star rating back to each track in that album. With the slider fully over to the left it will not add any more value to each track. The idea being this is that if you have a album with a lot of tracks in it then you must like this album more than an album with only one track (you may only have downloaded one track for this album because you do not like the rest). Therefore the tracks can gain from being part of a popular album.


Artists:

Weighting for having many albums by an artist

The average of all the albums by an artist is then multiplied by a percentage based on the slider.
With the slider fully over to the right you will give 100% of this value to the artist and with the slider fully over to the left it will give a value of zero.

Weighting given back to each album by this artist

With the slider fully over to the right you will give 100% of an artist's star rating back to each album by that artist. With the slider fully over to the left it will not add any more value to each album. The idea being this is that if you have a artist with a lot of albums then you must like this artist more than an artist with fewer ablums and therefore the albums can gain from being part of a popular artist.


Genres:

Weighting for having many tracks in a genre

The average of all the tracks in a genre is then multiplied by a percentage based on the slider.
With the slider fully over to the right you will give 100% of this value to the genre and with the slider fully over to the left it will give a value of zero.

Minimum number of tracks that make a genre

Type in a value for the number of tracks that constitute a genre. The idea behind this is that if you have only bought one track in a genre, is the genre really a valid genre?

Maximum number of tracks in a genre

Type in a value for the number of tracks that will not add any extra weighting to a genre. The idea behind this is that if you have a genre with many tracks (like a spoken book), having many tens of tracks is no better than say having 10 tracks in a genre.

Weighting given back to each track in a genre

With the slider fully over to the right you will give 100% of a genre's star rating back to each track in that genre. With the slider fully over to the left it will not add any more value to each track. The idea being this is that if you have a genre with a lot of tracks in it then you must like this genre more than a genre with fewer tracks and therefore the tracks can gain from being part of a popular genre.


Maximum Weighting:

The maximum weighting slider sets the maximum value that any one item can achieve. This stops one track getting 100% and all the rest getting 50% and less. By capping the rating it is more likely to more evenly distribute the weighting.

Send to iTunes

By pressing this button you will be sending the calculated star rating back to iTunes to be assigned to each track.

Recalculate

By pressing this button you will write back the calculated star rating to the original star rating of the track and then recalculating the new calculated star rating based on this new track star rating. If you click this a few times eventually the star rating should settle.

Revert

By pressing this button you will be resetting the star rating back to what it was when you first launched starTunes. You will also reset all the "bonus" values added to tracks, albums, artists and genres by dragging then up and down their lists.


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