The future of ratings

The badge idea reminds me of the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings book. In addition to their 1-4 star rating system, they used a crown icon to indicate particular personal favorites of the editors, as well as a “core collection” designation for releases deemed essential to a well rounded jazz collection.


I’d give ratings two stars.

If you feel you haven´t received enough information then you agree with me :laughing:

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I use my personal, locally tagged ratings much as others have described. I have some one-star tracks that I nevertheless keep in my collection for reference purposes, but I can readily filter them out of playlists.

I do have an interest in crowdsourced ratings, but as others have noted we don’t have the critical mass that would make MB crowdsourced ratings useful.


I love the ratings system. I guess I would change it by making it so that the ratings flow onto multiple pages naturally… Maybe they actually do, but that does not seem intuitive to me.

I would honestly really enjoy being able to rate tracks right from my ListenBrainz page/feed, and this would help the process of maximizing my ratings output. Probably also that of others.

I do not think that they would need to be more prominent - as is, they are rather prominent, and this may actually make some people have a negative opinion of them since the ratings are fairly sparse. I wouldn’t say that they are really sparse to the point of making it feel like a ghost town, but it would be nice if there were more people rating.

I’d be disappointed if the ratings went away, honestly, so please keep them.


As many here, I use locally tagged ratings (actually two different ratings, system with 16 degrees which translates well to 5 stars; 1&2 stars are rarely used). I wanted to use the MusicBrainz ratings as a less fine backup of my already done ratings (to much of a hassle to ever finish) and as a pre-rating for recordings I do not own yet (also to much friction as I’d have to manually look up each track (if already existing) and especially for new songs, I rather use and easy in-or-out strategy).

Crowdratings are not that interesting to me, though they can be a nice suggestion. Something like badges (or statistics of the love/hate/#listens) would do that job nicer I think.
Generally, album and recording ratings are more valuable, artist ratings feel weird.

I guess I would not miss them in MB and probably used them more of I could directly rate in LB.


Ratings are the most imporant part. Don’t remove that feature.
Make it out of 10 : it is the best scale for mass rating, it has a middle and is fairly simple. The 1-5 stars rating on MusicBrainz is awful : it is what makes goodreads and other tracking sites unusable. People still have the choice to hide their ratings.

So does 1-5, the middle number is 3!


Isn’t 2.5 the middle? 3/5 filled stars visually looks like you’re rating it above average… I feel like I might be opening a mathematical can of worms here :grin:

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3/5 = 60/100.
2.5/5 = 50/100.

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0 means not rated.
So if you rate something, you have 5 values (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), the one in the middle is 3 (neutral) as it has 2 ratings above and 2 ratings below.

Like in my previous scale:

  1. I really don’t like it
  2. I don’t like it very much
  3. Not bad
  4. I like it
  5. I love it



Frankly I’m surprised people who have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of tracks don’t have some kind of personal ranking system so that their computer can sort and generate playlists.

MusicBrainz ratings would see more use if they could be consumed as easily as they can be submitted.


One slightly off-topic thing I wanted to say, @aerozol, is that, before changing stuff that is already good enough, the only thing that I really miss and that would be ground breaking in MB is collection item markers.


I know why this came to mind, it is not completely off topic.

I use both in conjunction to know which releases I should try to find, looking at my 5 star recordings I don’t already have, those that are not marked in purple:

And also many times, for compilations, or for bonus track album editions that I don’t have.
If I already got the opportunity to listen to the missing tracks and rate them, I know if it’s worth it to buy this release, even if I already have almost all the other tracks (in purple).
I look at the ratings of the missing tracks to decide:


I use the recordings ones a lot to tag everything I listen. Before I was relying on a Foobar plugin but that was problematic since they were stored only in tags (they could easily disappear) and do not allow to tag music I don’t have on drives.

Regarding my rating I used same as for my photos, similar to other users except the “middle” being at 2 stars

  1. Not yet rated
  2. Bad: Songs I don’t like or strange experimetal records
  3. Average: Can listen to it but no particular vibes
  4. Good: I like it but not all the time
  5. Awesome: Always happy to hear it
  6. Perfection: 4 stars songs that I listenned hundred of hundred times

I prefer as it allows to have more “depth” to rate what I can listen to.

Sometimes using the Album tag when the full listenning of a release makes a different experience than the separated songs.


I avoid them for no reason that’s MB’s fault. I’ve historically tried to use them primarily to feed randomising playlists. But this has failed in every way imaginable:

  • Yesterday me doesn’t agree with today me on whether any given artist is worth listening to, nor will tomorrow me. So I build up all these overlapping mood tags that become white noise. Eventually I’m back to flipping through albums alphabetically.
  • Whenever I change platforms (player program, device, OS, preferred music borg) my ratings are gone or damaged.

Conceptually I’d love to see reliable ratings. But since I don’t trust my own opinions, I certainly don’t trust those of The Crowd, just as no individual in The Crowd would (or should) trust mine. And I can’t get my own ratings to be either consistent or persistent. I’m also trained by Amazon to believe that 1-star and 5-star ratings are bought.

So when I see ratings, I pretty much ignore them as damaged goods. It was a good idea, but not for me.


Realized I just answered partially to the question:

So based on my usage I’m quite happy with the current star rating system, don’t take much space and easy to use. What maybe miss to increase usage is the ability to mass tag, it’s available within Picard but may be useful to have this option directly within the main website (There is a high “entry cost” for users who want to start using this feature, imagine tagging one by one 200 releases and their associated recordings :/)

On the contrary what I regret not to have is a comment/critique section. ex: How to find the proper release to acquire for Miles Davis - Kind of Blue? There are many discussions about the quality of the different remasters, mono/stereo or even the bitrate.
At minima a comment section at bottom of page would be useful but we could imagine something better could be done: Positive/Negative votes on reviews, Professional/Magazine reviews section, Filter by rating given,… won’t develelop too much as I suppose you already thought of that with the CBz integration.

Then when I’m adding rating I usually also set genre, other tags or link entities to collections. Not sure you integrated those in your initial questions but seems related, could be all handled together under “Users contributions”

Some ideas:

  • Genre & Tags:

    • Allow to mass tag (at least in Picard). ex: As of now we need to flag recordings one by one if we want to see it appear on all the releases linked. (ex: I could flag Nevermind from Nirvana as “Grunge, alternative rock, rock” on RG level then it will only appears on Albums linked, not on compilations relying on).
    • Allow to mass tag from Collections (if upper not possible). ex: I got a collection of recordings and I want all the entities from it to receive the Collection name as tag
    • Allow hieararchical tags (quite used in photos tags Today the system allow to add “/” (ex: award/Diapason/Diapason d’Or) but there is no tree view
    • Allow to see herited tags. For instance some tags are placed on RG but I dont see them directly on release page and similarly it could be set on recording but I neither see them.
  • Collections or in a more general way listings/grouping of entities:
    Compare to genre/tags/stars which are shared easily among users it’s not the same story for those. Regretable as it’s a good way to discover new musics. When taking time to look around there are interesting collections made by users, some technical (missing covers, cleaned up composers, Released on Vinyl but not CD…) some regarding reviews (Rare Groove A to Z, quoted/heard on blogs/magazines/radios, awards like Qobuzissime, Songlines, The Wire…) some based on content (Women in Jazz, Silent Albums, Sold for more than >$500) or just funny ones (Bands with Dinosaur names, Covers design,… examples below for those.

    • Allow to select all editors as contributors
    • Create an homepage listing them all with search options
    • Review display on entity pages ex: Only display the ones where the entity is listed then for addition we could have an “Add…” link or review the process to be similar as for Series
    • Allow to see covers grouped on Collection pages (for the funny ones like below :slight_smile:

Musicians Who Posed Nude for Album Covers

About Objects, Design

Around Colors:

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On my own digital music collection? I use it for two purposes: Firstly as a record of how much I like a song (usually in comparison to others on the same album). Secondly as a way to control which songs are synced to my phone and for automated playlist creation.

On MB? I don’t. Over the years I’ve clicked a few stars out of curiosity or by accident but that’s about it.

When ratings were first implemented in MB I thought it would be a nice way to save my ratings somewhere online where Picard could retrieve and store in my files ID3 tags. It certainly would have been nice to do that recently as I have been gradually re-ripping my CD collection to FLAC (a pandemic lockdown project that’s really over run!) and to rid my digital collection of MP3s of varying quality where possible. The one holdback to using the feature on MB way-back-when was there didn’t seem to be a way to mass upload existing ratings from my files so I never bothered. Although in fairness to MB I never actually looked into it or enquired. Maybe there was a way to do it, but the time has now passed.

On MB? Shrug and go about my day. On the actual music files on my computer? Ooo I’d be p***ed! :joy:


@aerozol If you want a full “all eyes on” discussion, you should be aware of an oddity of this forum software… :eyes:

When this post originally appeared, it was not tagged. Then more categories got added at the top of the page: MetaBrainz, musicbrainz, listenbrainz, bookbrainz, critiquebrainz, ratings

This has triggered an odd side effect of this forum. This forum allows topics to be muted. This means anyone making use of that feature now does not know about this topic. I mute those last three *brainz, this has the effect I only see this topic has been updated when I am logged out.

Even stranger, the “MUTE” overrides the “TRACKING” option.

So, opposite to what you’d expect, if you need more people to see this you may need to remove some of the tags. :upside_down_face:


I always wanted to use ratings to help me build playlists and better organize my local music library, but so far I have failed doing this consistently. One of the biggest obstacles for me was that I frequently switched music players and re-tagged and reorganized my library, often loosing local ratings in the process. So what I actually wanted was the ability to have all my ratings stored on MB as a central database and be able to sync this to my local files.

Unfortunately the rating support in Picard (which I originally added) is lacking and not fulfilling the expectation. I think if this would be fixed (something I had hoped either someone would do or I would eventually do myself) and ratings could be reliably synced between MB and my local collection in a way that makes the ratings available in the various music players I would make more use of this feature again.

On the other hand I have also come to the conclusion that a simple like / dislike functionality, as it is available in LB, is enough for my needs. I don’t need detailed levels of ratings, where even a few months later I can’t justify my choice of 4 or 5 (or even 4.5) stars given and it looks rather arbitrary.


I believe charts are a major feature that’s missing from all Brainz projects. @chancey put together a prototype that gets the idea across


Hello all! I think it’s been long enough, and I have gotten round to summarizing the feedback.
Quite an interesting spread!

My summary is that everyone is very different in their use of ratings. Some people consider them critical, some people really don’t like them. I would not remove them, but also not make them more prominent, unless it was customisable. Having them sync and display consistently across all the MeB services, and possibly other services/players/local files/Picard, should be a focus.

Rating usage:
(note that the same person can be represented in ‘use elsewhere’ and in one of the MB bars)

All feedback, summary:
(note that the same user can be represented across multiple items as well as sub-items)

Don't use ratings in MB IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
- Don't want to ever use them IIII
- More likely to use them if they synced with local files/media players (import/export) IIII
- More likely to use if there were more (chicken/egg situation) III
- More likely to use them in LB II
- More likely to just use like/not like II

Do use ratings in MB IIIIIIII
- Discovery and what to get/listen to II
- Organise playlists I
- Remembering what I like I

Do use ratings in CB II

Use ratings in other sites IIIIIIIIIIII
- Other music site/media player/tags IIIIIIIII
- GoodReads III
- Professional music reviews/sites I
- Other I

- Leave as is IIIII
- Would like to hide them IIII
- Make more prominent II

Half star vs whole star
- Prefer half star ratings III
- Prefer whole star ratings II

- Have them sync + display across all MeB sites IIIIIII
- Ratings don't mean much IIIIIII
- Ratings are personal IIIII
- Ratings are better with context III
- Important to have it usable via Picard II
- Not objective enough for MB III
- Have 'badges' III
- Be able to rate songs from LB II
- Want ratings gone completely I
- Allow to review specific releases I