Star Ratings - workarounds or time to move on?

Discussion in 'iOS 10' started by ggarnold, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. ggarnold macrumors member

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    Sep 26, 2012
    #1
    First, I want to acknowledge that star ratings are not for everyone. If you are okay with two indicators for music tracks (Loved, Disliked) then this topic is not for you.

    I have spent many years building my music library (15+ years, 15,326 songs, 9,382 rated). Star ratings have been the key way to differentiate between how well I like different tracks. At a simple level, 3+ indicates that I like a track, two or less means I don't like it. This level of thinking works well for the loved/disliked.

    However I prefer to go further to track what I "like" and "don’t like"….

    1 Star is reserved for short intros or songs I absolutely hate (1%)
    2 Stars are songs I don't really like (but may be okay for a general artist/genre shuffle) (36%)
    3 Stars means I generally like a song (37%)
    4 Stars means the song is among the best on a given album (22%)
    5 Stars means the song is among my favorite of all time (3%)
    Unrated - never got to or didn't form an opinion and okay with not including in playlists

    The most important aspect of these ratings is their use in iTunes Smart Playlists. Smart Playlists are invaluable for someone with lots of songs to manage. By simply adjusting a star rating, I can affect which playlist a song fits into. Genres and star ratings help me build great playlists for whatever my mood.

    So, with iOS 10, I have lost the ability to use star ratings to automatically affect my playlists from my iOS devices.

    Workarounds/Alternatives:
    • Use Siri to change ratings. Siri recognizes rating commands. For example I will say "Siri, rate this song three stars." This works for now, but only in private situations (in car on the way to work).
    • Use iTunes to change ratings. Requires my Macbook, so only practical while at work or home.
    • Change my smart playlists to use two settings (loved/disliked) plus "not set". I would have to give up the ability to differentiate between "pretty good", "great" and "all time fav" status.
    • Manually move tracks in and out of playlists. This would be a ton of work on an ongoing basis and is not practical at all.
    • Find another music library system for iOS devices that works like iTunes used to. Seems unlikely but something could be out there.
    • Explore alternatives such as Google Music, Spotify, Amazon. None have the star ratings feature last I checked. But maybe I'll save money, be more platform agnostic, or I'll find new features (ex. Amazon Echo integration).
    I have submitted my feedback to Apple but hoping to hear more from the fans on this board.

    Do you use star ratings? Are your use cases similar to mine? What are you going to do without the ratings capabilities? Any ideas for workarounds or alternatives?
     
  2. IronWaffle macrumors 6502

    IronWaffle

    #2
    Can you rate songs through 3rd party apps, such as Cesium or Marvis?
     
  3. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #3
    I use Marvis to rate songs during beta period. So if I "love" a song then I need to use two apps to complete setting this song as "love", which is 5 stars and "love". For those not so great but still outstanding, 4 stars and "love". I generally don't use "love" a lot as when I sync my library with iPod classic, all "loves" will be erased from library. But this is another story though.
    I haven't seen any changes regarding this rating system so far. But I will not move on as removing rating is completely unnecessary. It would not hurt anyone and iTunes performance will not be affected at all!
     
  4. ggarnold thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 26, 2012
    #4
    Great point about 3rd party apps! I had no idea other iOS apps were available that work with my Apple Music library. Cesium in particular looks really great. I'll definitely check out both of these.

    For right or wrong, I've been using "Loved" to indicate which songs are in my heavy rotation. I have a smart playlist called "Current" which is configured to automatically include songs based on the Loved indicator. I typically keep around 300 songs marked as Loved to represent new songs I'm really interested in and older songs I want to put back in the heavy mix.

    The reason I use the Loved indicator is it can quickly & easily be changed using any iOS devices, Carplay interface and iTunes. This allows me to manage my most used playlist with a simple tap or click.
     
  5. zorinlynx macrumors 601

    zorinlynx

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    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #5
    Cesium is pretty amazing, and it's the closest thing to the iOS 6 and prior music app I've ever found.

    The only issue it has that annoys me is that you can't queue a song without interrupting playback briefly. But the developer says this is an API issue, and not something he can control.
     
  6. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    May 16, 2015
    #6
    And Marvis is the one I ever use which is the closest to iOS 8 and 9 music app. I don't like the design of cesium. The way they hide now playing view is weird.
     
  7. IronWaffle, Aug 26, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016

    IronWaffle macrumors 6502

    IronWaffle

    #7
    Interesting. So are you saying that you can still make/change star ratings in Marvis?

    I use star ratings similarly to you. I never use the "love" feature -- partly for the reasons you state. With 30,000 songs, smart playlists are crucial for managing my portable library.

    I haven't used the native Music app since iOS 6, so my main concern is that star ratings are being phased out entirely. I almost exclusively use Marvis but as long as it and/or Cesium can still rate songs then I'm not worried. If star ratings are broken in third party apps then... we'll see. Much as I don't want to leave Apple, that might finally drive me to Android and I'll replace iTunes with Jriver, MediaMonkey and/or other desktop/laptop music apps. Music functionality is key to me. Streaming is a solution for many but not for me.
     
  8. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    May 16, 2015
    #8
    Yes. And it is still affecting smart playlist accordingly, for now.
     
  9. gsmumbo01 macrumors newbie

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    Jun 22, 2015
    #9
    I'm using Marvis right now. Cesium glitches too much on iOS 10 (specifically with how it hides the Now Playing view). If Marvis can handle love/unlove too then it'd be perfect. I still wish iOS 10 brought star ratings back but Marvis is growing on me a lot.
     
  10. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #10
    The developer says Apple would not allow other apps to handle love and dislike of Apple Music so that is sort of exclusive for Apple. I also realise cesium is too buggy in iOS 10. One reason I like Marvis more than cesium.
     
  11. alexmarchuk macrumors 6502a

    alexmarchuk

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    Jun 28, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #11
    On iTunes it's great however I agree I rate songs similarly to how you do. Why have songs in the library to dislike, right? Silly.

    I wonder what Apples stance is on removing such a simple feature.
     
  12. Jayson A macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    #12
    I download a lot of EDM and I use star ratings so that I know if I really love the song or not. If a song comes on and starts playing, I tapped the cover art to check if I really loved the song, if there's no rating, then it's time to skip it. Why waste my time waiting for a drop if I don't like it?
     
  13. Knowlege Bomb macrumors 601

    Knowlege Bomb

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    Location:
    Madison, WI
    #13
    My use of star ratings is extremely similar to yours and this is the main reason I have avoided upgrading to iOS 10. I tried both Cesium and Marvis and wasn't a fan of either so for now (and until my music library of ~5k songs is rated) I will be sticking with iOS 9. The removal of this feature makes zero sense to me.
     
  14. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #14
    As long as iTunes for macOS supports it and smart playlists synced to iOS devices that utilize star ratings work and update properly, I'll live.

    I actually rarely rate my songs when listening on an iOS device. What scares me is that this could set a trend and lead to its eventual demise on macOS.

    However, as long as tags exist you could just use tags such as "5 Stars" "4 Stars" as a clunky work around unless Apple ditches those too. When you accumulate a large collection of music, you need a more detailed method of sorting than a simple on-off switch. Some music I love, some music I don't dislike, but don't love. Other songs I like to have for certain times, but want a way to filter them out for usual listening.
     
  15. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    #15
    I like using Marvis so I choose to upgrade to iOS 10. Bed time is a pretty good add on for me to simply track my sleeping.
     
  16. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #16
    My issue with both of these apps is the lack of support for playlist folders. You can see them, but when you go in one, it is just a combined list of songs from all of the playlists. It doesn't show each playlist individually like the default application.
     
  17. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    #17
    Default application can show playlist folders? I don't know. :O
    I tried once before back to iOS 8 but I could not see it on iOS.
     
  18. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #18
    Yeah. See the screenshots below to compare the default Music app to Cesium (and Marvis is the same way). Note: I create playlists for certain artists because I've never like the Artist view in any Music app and I only use it for specify ones.

    IMG_0088.PNG IMG_0089.PNG IMG_0090.PNG IMG_0091.PNG
     
  19. Knowlege Bomb macrumors 601

    Knowlege Bomb

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    #19
    I have a Garmin fitness tracker that has great sleep tracking so I can see how that would be an attractive feature.
     
  20. IronWaffle, Aug 28, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016

    IronWaffle macrumors 6502

    IronWaffle

    #20
    I've communicated with several developers of music apps and word is that Apple's API doesn't let 3rd party apps handle playlist folders. That'll be true for any such app that's hooked into the native Music app, unfortunately.
     
  21. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #21
  22. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    #22
    Oh. This is new to me then. Let me have a try. It would be interesting as I have too many playlists. (20 or so)
     
  23. ggarnold thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 26, 2012
    #23
    A common scenario for me is sitting on the patio with my family (drink in hand), listening to new music on shuffle from my iPhone, connected to a bluetooth speaker. As songs are playing, I make adjustments such as add new songs from Apple Music and set/adjust ratings for songs already in my library. Using Siri to make ratings changes doesn't make sense in this scenario.

    I see no reason Apple has decided to kill this library management feature unless they plan to eventually remove star ratings altogether. Then, basically, they are dumbing down the iTunes library to the Spotify/Google Music/Amazon Music level. I chose (and stuck with) Apple iTunes a long time ago because they had the most robust and intuitive set of features. With this change they are making a big step backwards in song management capabilities.

    How hard would it be to add a "tap" action to the current song's cover art to expose the star ratings??
     
  24. TurboPGT! Suspended

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    #24
    Time to move on. Like or Dislike is enough info for any one song to drive the future logic of things.
     
  25. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #25
    No, no it isn't.
     

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