I play my music in a coffee shop. So I’m always tinkering with playlists. I’ve found that, as with iPhoto, ratings are a handy way to gather together the good songs. Then you can make them into a new playlist … and maybe weed out the tired ones, or sidetrack them for some other time.
Here’s my method for getting the most out of iTunes ratings. First I give all of the songs an “average” rating. Then I change the ratings of the songs that aren’t average.
In the Playlist view, choose a playlist. (Or, if you don’t use playlists, just switch to the Songs view.)
If you don’t see a column with the heading “Rating,” alt-click anywhere in the heading row at the top of the display; a floating menu of column headings appears. In this menu, click Rating to add it to your display.
However, it often fails to select anything. In this case, click on the first song in the playlist, scroll to the end, and hold down Shift while clicking the last song. Either way, all of the songs in the display should now be highlighted.
To make a new playlist of the best songs, select the top song. Find the lowest-rated song you want to include, hold down Shift and select that song to select the range between it and the top song. In the bottom left corner, click + . A floating menu displays. On it, click New Playlist from Selection.
Remember that a playlist isn’t copies of songs; it’s just a list of pointers to songs held in Music. It takes up almost no disk space. So don’t be afraid to create lots of playlists!