Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The SXSW Showcasing Artist compilations typically include more than one thousand songs. When I add them to iTunes initially, the songs display a blank rating, which is what I want.

The songs are each tagged with the album SXSW YYYY Showcasing Artists (where YYYY is the year of the festival). They appear in coverflow view as more than one thousand distinct one-song albums, which is unwieldy. So, I gather them with a Smart Playlist, select all, open Get Info, set the album, year, sort album, and mark them "Part of a compilation."

Then I start listening to them, and rating them one to five stars. In some cases, I do not need to listen all the way to the end in order to determine a rating, so the "Played" count does not increment. Sometimes the song plays all the way to the end and I can't rate it because I'm too busy. Sometimes a whole bunch of songs play to the end and I never hear them because the headphones were plugged in to the player but not to my ears. The only way I know I have actually heard enough of a song to be able to rate it is that it has a rating.

Then, something happens. I don't know what.

Some of the songs to which I have never listened show a two hollow star rating. I guess that's the Album Rating. What the heck?

I want a Smart Playlist of the songs I have not rated yet, whether or not they have been played, and I do not want to count "Album Rating" as a rating. I want the zero-star songs, and the Album Rating makes the Smart Playlist think there are no zero-star songs.

I would be delighted to remove the Album Rating, but there appears to be no way to do so within the iTunes GUI.

I do not mind writing a program to remove Album Rating from wherever iTunes stores it, and based on Google searches such a tool would be popular. Is iTunes library format documented? Does iTunes generate Album Rating dynamically, so even if I were able to erase it from the disk, it would come back?

Note: the technique "View in Album List, click to the left of the leftmost star" does not always work. See here and here.

share|improve this question

You can get rid of album ratings. Select "as album list" from the view menu, then click just to the left of the leftmost star. This will clear the rating, although you may have to try a couple times to hit the right spot, especially if you have 1/2 stars enabled.


share|improve this answer
Thanks for the link, but the technique does not always work. I added links to responses in that discussion from people for whom it does not work. It does not work for me, either. – Thomas L Holaday Mar 25 '12 at 3:23
It just worked for me. Thanks! – Gaurav Mar 31 '12 at 3:16

You can click and drag any star rating to change it. Drag it all the way to the left to remove it.

In the newest version of iTunes, if the ratings you don't want are album ratings, go to Album view, click the album to expand it, and you'll see its rating (full stars) next to the album artist in the heading. Click and drag left to remove it and all the hollow stars for unrated tracks in that album should go away.

share|improve this answer

I've been frustrated with this "auto album starring" problem for a long while, it totally mucks up smart playlists that are based on track ratings. After I migrated my full collection of 14k+ songs recently, I just had to do something about it.

So after much looking for tools, I found this awesome collection of AppleScripts for iTunes on Doug's Scripts. I even found an AppleScript at that would set the album rating to anything I wanted, exactly what I was looking for! I tried it out, but the script was written with specific code to only allow 1 track selection at a time, and here I wanted to reset my entire library.

I have no AppleScript skills whatsoever, but I managed to hack together a working script that would handle multiple tracks. I've successfully reset my manually applied album ratings (which was the original problem, for me). I've put up the gist on github, here:

Please understand that I'm a first time AppleScript author, (always wanted to, but never had enough incentive) so there may now be glaring bugs, problems or other things that go boom in this, use at your own risk and understanding. Do comment if it works for you and what you used it for, if you do use it - I'm very interested. :)

Oh, and in case you're stuck, wondering what to do with the .scpt file you get, head on over to the first URL above and read through the README PDF file.

share|improve this answer
Thank you, Dhiraj – Thomas L Holaday Mar 6 '13 at 19:04

Easy way to do it is find the artist and check that or the album isnt rated with stars, I had this problem for years, until just now when i noticed the artist had a 5 star rating, I changed that and WHAM problem gone

share|improve this answer

This happens when your Album is rated with non-hollow stars. This will automatically rate the non-rated songs from that album with hollow stars.

The quickest way I found to change this is:

  1. On Songs View, teak your view to see the Album Ratings. (Right-clicking on the column names and selecting Album ratings from the list)

  2. Sort it from the higher to the lower ratings or whatever sorting gives you more non-hollow album ratings.

  3. Click on the left side of the first star (not in the actual star). It will probably disappear from your sight - This happens because it was sorted where is it supposed to be, to begin with.. lol

  4. Repeat for all other non-hollow rated albums.

This will made your album rating become hollow if you have any rated song on that particular album. If you don't have any song already rated for that album, it will just become unrated (album and respective songs)

share|improve this answer

Only songs that are part of an album that was explicitly rated, "solid stars", will show up in a smart playlist based on ratings. To remove unwanted tracks from your playlist that are listed because of album rating do the following:

  1. Load the playlist
  2. Play a song with that is implicitly rated "hollow stars"
  3. Right click on the album graphic at the top of Itunes and select (go to album)
  4. Click to the left of the first star next to the heart in the album area
  5. Now check your playlist and all the songs that were implicity added from that album to your playlist will be removed from the playlist.
share|improve this answer
"Only songs that are part of an album that was explicitly rated, "solid stars", will show up in a smart playlist based on ratings" --- this is incorrect. At least in, give it a shot. Create a smart playlist that only contains a particular rating (not album rating) and start scrolling through it. You'll see plenty of "hollow" unrated songs (assuming you actually have unrated songs on albums..) – keen Dec 28 '15 at 1:08
a well documented example - – keen Dec 28 '15 at 3:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.