Possibility and Probability

A Python programmer with a personality thinking about space exploration

28 August 2005

iTunes playlists and randomness

by Nick

From Slashdot I found this article:How Much Does iTunes Like My Five-Star Songs? In it the author tackles the subject of iTunes and how t picks songs. Its an interesting read and it pretty much confirmed a lot of what I thought about how iTunes works. Although I do disagree with the assertion about the hypothetical playlist, the author claims that most songs in a persons collection will be rated at 3 stars, and the distribution of rankings will follow a bell curve. In my collection that is most definitely not the case. The majority of my songs are in the 4 and 5 star range, with a smattering of 3 stars, very few 2 stars, and growing number of 1 stars. For me, I want to hear songs I like (4 and 5 star) more often, so when I hear an unrated song I like I’m more likely to rate that songs. For songs that are ok, I’ll eventually rate them 3 stars. Songs I really don’t care for get the 1 star. Since I imported all of my mp3’s with no rankings I’ve got a mountain of unrated songs. Perhaps this is the wildcard: once I get the majority of my songs rated perhaps they will fall into a bell curve, but I am doubtful of this because of my tendency to get rid of songs/albums/artists I don’t like. i.e. If I can’t rate a single song on an album over 1 or 2 stars, then why bother keeping it? But that’s just me.