Easily Import Song Ratings to iTunes

Updated iTunes IconA few years ago I was given an iPod. Like many, I loaded all of my songs into iTunes and used it as my primary music player. At some point iTunes stopped working and nothing I did would get it working again.

At that point, I switched to an alternate music player, JRiver’s MediaCenter. While this software served my purpose, I recently had a need to move back to iTunes. The only challenge for me was how to move my song ratings into iTunes. No big deal you say? Well, for me, song ratings are the key to all of my playlists (a subject of another post). If I had to start from scratch, rating my 5000+ song library, I would be working straight through the new year.

My initial thought was to do it with some software. However, thinking about it some more, I came away with a better solution - playlists.

The idea I have is to create playlists based on song ratings inside of MediaCenter. These are “Smart Lists” that automatically update as songs are rated. MediaCenter allows you to export these playlists into various formats. One of them M3U is supported by iTunes. Here is what I did:

  1. Imported all of my songs into iTunes. This took some time.
  2. Created the following playlists in JRiver MediaCenter
    • 1 Star
    • 2 Star
    • 3 Star
    • 4 Star
  3. Exported each playlists as an M3U file
  4. Start iTunes
  5. Select File->Import and open the playlists you just saved. When you do, iTunes will import the playlist and display it under the iTunes playlists.
  6. Click the newly created playlist
  7. Highlight all of the songs in the playlist
  8. Right mouse click over the songs and rate them
  9. Repeat the import process for each of your playlists

Since iTunes can import M3U files, migrating your song ratings will work with any other player that also support M3U playlists. Most do.

There are a couple of caveats to this tutorial which are rooted in the M3U file format. The M3U file stores both the filename and the path to the file. There are two (at least) potential problems.

  1. If you want to move from Windows to OSX
  2. If your music file locations have changed

If you have either of these problems then a little Script-Fu should do the trick. It wouldn’t be too hard to write a quick parser in Perl/Python/Ruby which changes the path and filename to the new locations.