How to Rate Music – My Rating System


A while back, I posted my rating system on an episode of the Pub Songs Podcast. I'm rather proud of it and like how it works. But I realize I didn't have a written account. So here goes.

First, I should point out that this system is geared towards my iTunes playlist. However, it works great for any five-star rating system.

1 Star = Terrible. There is no point owning this song because it is so bad. Delete it now. It's a waste if space. One star should be extremely rare.

2 Stars = Average. This is the ho-hum song that is not terrible, but not great. It'd be okay if it played again, or it would be no big loss if it was accidentally deleted.

3 Stars = Good. This is a song you like and would enjoy hearing over and over again… as long as it wasn't too frequent. Most of the music you enjoy should end up here.

4 Stars = Awesome. If you really love hearing a song over and over…and over again, it's a four-star beauty. All of your absolute favorite songs will end up here. This pretty much the highest rating, except…

5 Stars = Perfection. You won't have many of these songs in your catalog of music. You probably won't know it's a 5-star song until you've heard it a hundred times as a 4-Star song. Five stars are extremely rare. They indicate a level of song that you never get tired of listening to.  It is absolute perfection.

As I said, these ratings work for anything… movies, albums, books, whatever. I just wish iTunes allowed me to rate albums separately from the songs in my iTunes library.

Sometimes an album is more or less than the sum of its parts. The soundtrack to When Harry Met Sally is a great example. I love the album. It's a fantastic Christmas album or just a great jazz album any time of the year. I give it a solid 4 Stars. However, when an individual song comes in on random play, I find the they aren't as great. Some are 3s. I think there's even a 2. But together… Wow! What a composition!

There you have it, my rating system. I think it's a good one for anyone trying to rate music.

While it may be detrimental to my album reviews, I think I'm gonna take a moment to consider what this means for albums I release. I love 5-star ratings of my albums. I might be a harsher judge though. I don't know if I have any 5-star albums that I've released. Perfection? No. I definitely feel like I have some great 4-star albums. I listen to my own albums for that reason. I love the music. I don't get tired of it. But I'm not so sure about the 5-glowing stars, at least by my rating system.

A Celtic Christmas too. I've listened to that album so many times this holiday season. I think I will give it 4-stars at present. But we shall see what happens over time. Will certain songs lose their flavor? Will I need to downgrade it to a 3? Or will I fall more in love with those songs. I know some of them, I play more than others because they get better and better as I listen to them. Could the album become a 5?

Yes. Stars can change over time. If something is really fantastic or terrible, a star can be added or removed. Right now though, I'd give A Celtic Christmas a solid 4.

How does A Celtic Christmas stand up to you? Rate it on CD BabyiTunes or Amazon.

How about Scottish Songs of Drinking & Rebellion? Do you own it, and do you still love it? Rate it on CD Baby, iTunes or Amazon.

I'd love your feedback. What do you think of my rating system?

2 comments on “How to Rate Music – My Rating System

  1. Hi,
    I looked you up to ask a question. I’ve been searching for sheet music for some of the songs I’ve heard on your podcasts (my #4 list, I guess you couuld say), mostly solstice & xmas (like The Ravens, Solstice Carol; The Elders, Christmas Day; Kim McKee, One Lone Rowan Tree; some Seamus Kennedy songs; and one that I think is called Waiting For The Snow, but I don’t know who the singer is). I’ve only been able to find one song’s sheet music, only because it turned out to be a very old song (Miss Fogarty’s Christmas Cake). Do you know where I can look for some of the others? I’m not going to use them for professional purposes, I’m just a really lousy piano player who does it only every now & then for fun.

    • Sorry Amanda. I think these are mostly original songs, which means you’d have to visit the individual artists and most don’t have sheet music. 🙁

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