Posted by: bsieker | September 9, 2009

Why can’t songs be rated while listening to Genius mixes in iTunes 9?

Why is song rating disabled?

Why is song rating disabled?

I just installed iTunes 9 on my week old installation of Snow Leopard.  While I find it humorous that some in the Mac community are up in arms over the smallest of interface changes in iTunes, I’m truly ambivalent about them.  When I heard about the Genius Mixes function, I thought I’d take a look.  First, however, I needed to do an update to the Genius information on my computer.  Luckily, it didn’t take the hours it did when re-setting my iTunes library after a clean OS install.

The Genius mixes interface shows 12 iTunes generated mixes culled from various genres in your media library.  For me, it made 10 Rock oriented mixes, a Pop mix, and a R&B Rap mix.  Classical, Latin, Country etc. were not represented, even though I have more than 10GB of Latin music in my iTunes library.  While a song is playing from the chosen Genius mix, the view of the Genius mixes changes to show the artwork of your currently playing track as shown here:

Genius mixes changes to show art for current track.

Genius mixes changes to show art for current track.

All of this is well and good.  However, having just re-imported my media from scratch I now have many many Gigabytes of music that needs to be rated.  Unfortunately, to this point I have not been able to conjure up a way to rate songs while using the Genius Mixes feature.  It appears to be disable by Apple.  There is no way to see detailed track info for what is currently playing.  Going to View-Go To Current Song does nothing.  Genius Mixes does not support List mode.  Even entering the options of the iTunes dock icon, I found that the rating functionality had been disabled.  What gives Apple?

Don’t get me wrong.  For listening pleasure, the Genius Mixes feature works well.  For hardcore users though, not being able to access the tags and other track information of music while listening is a killer.  And not in a good way.

If anyone knows a way around this, let me know.



  1. i’m not too impressed either. i got 6 rock & alternative mixes, 4 punk mixes, and 2 metal mixes (i don’t even like metal).

    and i too wish i could rate the songs while listening in genius. or i wish it would favor higher rated songs like the old party shuffle because it keeps wanting to play songs already rated with 1 or 2 stars

  2. Do you know how many songs are chosen for each genius mix? And do they refresh the songs or they’re always the same?

  3. yep you are right, you cannot rate songs. however, with the remote app and an iphone, you can rate songs but you cant see the playlist that genius generated on either. im sure theere will be an update

  4. figured it out!

    while in itunes and playing the genius mix, click the genius button in the area where it shows the song name and song time etc. then you can see the playlist and rate songs

  5. nm i was wrong…it just switches it to genius mode..

    • The best solution I’ve come up with is to start the Genius mix, and then change your view to the “Recently Played” playlist. Then you can at least rate them as they appear. Not very elegant, but it works.

      • Actually, that’s a great solution. I thought when I got this Genius Mixes thing going a few days ago, it DID work as ‘matthew’ said above—where you could click on ‘Genius’ and it showed the contents of the current Genius Mix. Now that doesn’t seem to work.

        Anyway… your solution works. I was really looking for this since I find the GM’s are serving up all kinds of great music I have here, but never seem to ‘find’ on my own. So, I’m wanting to rate it to dig up the good stuff at will, later on.

  6. You CAN rate song currently playing BUT you will need to install Growl and GrowlTunes which will sit on Menu Bar and give you nice little and fast interface to rate the song. Also it tells you songs just played.

    • While it looks like it should work, it does not for me. The GrowlTunes menu item will show that I’ve set the rating, but after it has played I can see that the rating from GrowlTunes isn’t saved to the database. Works for regular played songs though in all other playlists.

      I’m using the 1.2b1 beta version of Growl due to being on Snow Leopard. Maybe that’s why it didn’t work? Thanks for the idea.

      • Now that you said it, the rating doesn’t get saved here either after I checked it. I still have Leopard. Thanks for putting focus on this. Hope there will be a way to rate songs in Mixes eventually.

  7. I’m not convinced Genius is using solely ratings to create the mixes, I think it’s more likely a mix of that plus number of plays, number of times the track has been skipped, etc. Most users would get zero results from Genius Mixes if they only included rating songs. I find most friends aren’t even aware that they can rate songs.

    Me, I’m on a personal campaign to get Apple to introduce 1/2 stars to the rating system. Five just isn’t enough colours in the rating palette.

    • If you are on a Mac, you can turn on 1/2 star ratings with a terminal command. Make sure iTunes is fully closed before using the command.

      In terminal, type the following and hit enter:

      defaults write allow-half-stars -bool TRUE

      Then, in iTunes click in between the stars to get a 1/2 star rating.

      I’m not sure if it’s possible to do on the Windows side however.

  8. Found a very good solution:

    Hope it helps.

    • Nice SW – I love “I love stars” – although it uses some space on the menu bar.

  9. This has been fixed in the newest iTunes, version 9.1. Right click on the top progress/status area, and the option to rate the current song will be available. This was on the Windows version; I have not checked the Mac version yet.

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