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I know in iTunes and a few other apps you can get playlists for just "highly rated" songs, but that's not quite what I want. I want to hear the lower-rated stuff, too. If I didn't like the song at some level it wouldn't be in my library in the first place, and so even a one-star song is worth the occasional listen.

However, I do want to hear five-star songs a lot more often than one-star songs, even though I think I have a lot more one-star songs in my music library. So does anyone know of media player software or plugin (preferrably free) that has a shuffle mode that is biased towards songs that are rated higher, without completely excluding those that are rated lower?

Right now I prefer windows media player, so a plugin for that would be ideal, but I'm not married to media player, either. Any music software that will do this would be worth some attention.

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+1 for a neat idea! If no answer is found, why don't you suggest this to the dev team of an open-source player? It might catch on. – marcusw Apr 20 '10 at 14:38
Wow, they don't do that out of the box? I would have thought this was the default when "shuffling". What is that rating feature good for otherwise? – fretje Apr 20 '10 at 14:44
For the record, I have 1-star songs in my library that I just plain don't like and don't want to listen to, mostly in cases where I don't want to break up an album. – phenry Apr 21 '10 at 16:47
True, I have a few songs like that - It'd also be nice to be able to rate them as 0, which is different from leaving them unrated. But that's not most of the one-star songs, and it's not hard to press the skip button now and then. – Joel Coehoorn Apr 22 '10 at 14:11
Two solutions to songs you don't want to play: (1) Clear the checkbox that's to the left of the song title in most iTunes lists. This will prevent it from playing in Party Shuffle, but also some other contexts. Or (2) Make a Smart Playlist that excludes 1-star songs, and use the Smart Playlist as the "Source" for Party Shuffle. – coneslayer Apr 22 '10 at 14:43
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Try 'Shaken, not stirred'. I had the same question as you did and this little freeware programme offers exactly what I wanted.

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You might want to add a bit more information to this as link only answers don't make for good answers and are likely to be removed. – ChrisF Dec 24 '12 at 12:11
this is exactly what I wanted :) – Joel Coehoorn Dec 24 '12 at 21:33

In "iTunes DJ" (formerly "Party Shuffle"), click "Settings" and check "Play higher rated songs more often."

iTunes DJ settings

(This is not the same as the "Smart Playlists" mentioned in the question... it will still play low-rated/unrated songs.)

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+1, because this is technically what I asked for. But now that you bring it up I remember that I tried this when it they added the feature to iTunes and there were two problems: 1) It just didn't have a strong enough effect - I was still hearing too many low-rated songs. and 2) iTunes sucks in just about every other way. – Joel Coehoorn Apr 22 '10 at 14:15
@Joel I agree with one of your two points :-) – coneslayer Apr 22 '10 at 14:44

The only program I've heard of that does this is LongPlayer. It was really slick and was made to do exactly what you are looking for. It seems to be abandoned, but was designed to work in conjunction with Winamp, iTunes, and XMMS. It may work with current versions of those programs.

Since it's open source, it may be possible to tear out the guts and try to reuse them in plugins for current programs.

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You can get the effect of a biased shuffle by creating a group of smart playlists.

  • Create a playlist of 50 randomly selected five-star songs
  • Another of 25 three-star songs
  • And finally a playlist consisting of the first two playlists.

Now the last playlist will have a 5-star to 3-star song bias of 2:1.

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I suppose I could do this for my entire music library and add higher-rated songs to the final playlist more than once. It's a hassle, though. – Joel Coehoorn Apr 22 '10 at 14:13

iTunes has an obvious bias. Not saying I want it to :/ but I came across this because it is a problem for me and realized it could be a solution for you. It's not specifically for that purpose of course as shuffle is to mean shuffle but I have over 5000 songs and hear about the same 100-200 songs just because I choose them often when I do choose specific songs to listen to instead of shuffling. So when it shuffles it makes sure to throw those in there the most

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